Residents are reminded of these last few days before Christmas to be mindful of the Grinches out there. If safety and security practices are a habit, you don't have to think about them.

1) Prevent "Porch Pirates" by specifying delivery instructions when ordering online to time with when you will be home, or to notify you to get it, or to deliver to a trusted neighbor etc.

2) Prevent Burglary of your house while you are away by always double-checking doors and windows, activating alarms, having outside lights on, and setting alarms. Don't leave garage door openers on your visor.

3) Prevent Theft of Your Car by NEVER leaving it running outside your house, a store, the pizza place, or anywhere else. NEVER leave the key or key-fob in the vehicle, not even in the garage. ALWAYS take the key or keyfob with you.

4) Prevent Theft from your Car by ALWAYS locking it and not leaving valuables in it. While shopping, cover items in the car and drive away, park somewhere else to continue shopping. Once home, take gifts inside immediately (secure the car between trips into the house - thieves are fast!).

5) Prevent Theft of Guns From Vehicles by NEVER leaving a gun in it overnight, and ALWAYS locking the car.

6) DON'T DRINK & DRIVE. Drunk drivers destroy or ruin lives of entire families in an instant. Have a plan before you leave home. Take a cab, call Uber, or have a friend take you home.

AFTER GIFTS ARE OPENED - 

1) Break-Down Boxes and put them IN the garbage. DON'T use the biggest box (Big-screen TV?) to hold all the trash and put it out curbside. It advertises to thieves what you have new in the house.

2) Record serial numbers from all items - electronics, power tools, bikes etc and take pictures. Register those items with the manufacturer (additional source for serial numbers as well as safety recall notices)

3) Put gifts away - Assimilate them into the house where they belong, rather than leaving all the new things out on display under the tree in the living room in the front window for thieves to see!

4) Be safe with new toys. Read the safety manuals. Don't let kids ride motorized toy vehicles, mini-bikes, 4-wheelers etc. on the street or in places you know they are not allowed. Plan an outing to a safe/ legal area.

5) Be smart about social media - Displaying a new item online can set you up for a future burglary or theft, and talking about your travel can also invite burglars into your home!

6) The Same Theft-from-Vehicle prevention advice applies after Christmas doing returns or shopping for sales.

Courtesy of Crime Prevention Officer William McLeod, City of North Myrtle Beach Police Department