Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and with it bring family, friends, and most importantly presents. Whether you are down on Michigan Avenue, hitting the boutiques on Taylor Street, or finding the best deal on the internet from the comfort of your own home, shopping has a few inherent risks that you may not know about, so here are a few tips that will make this season great.

It goes without saying, but always be aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are. Crooks love to see shoppers focused on the best deals or the best windows along State Street because it affords them the best chance at your purse, wallet, or shopping bags. These types of criminals often work in teams, so keep an eye out, because they are often easy to spot. (while everyone is looking at the Marshall Fields windows or the street performer playing Here Comes Santa Claus, they are looking at you and your shopping bags) Enjoy your time shopping this holiday season and if someone or something seems off, let a police officer or security guard know about it.

Once you find that great deal online or the store offers to ship the item to your house, be sure to ask the delivery service to require a signature upon delivery. Far too often, packages are stolen from in front of your door or from inside the mail room. Get to know your letter carrier or delivery driver, tell them you have a package coming and could he or she ensure they drop the package off personally or allow you to pick it right up from their facility. (UPS is right off Roosevelt and your local Post Office is never far away) Requiring this simple step will save the headache of replacing the missing package and potentially costing you double when the item is replaced. Also, never allow anyone you don’t know into your building, they may be there to steal packages from your neighbors… or worse! Like when you are out shopping, be aware of your surroundings and report anything unusual to the police.

I hope these tips were helpful for you and your family this holiday season. No matter which holiday you call your own, I hope it is memorable, safe, and that you get exactly what you asked for… even if you asked for a pony.

Meet Michael Carroll, Safety Interest Group Leader


Michael Carroll is a father, husband, volunteer, and an active member of his community.

Michael graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut, where he received a double major in Political Science and Religious Studies. In pursuit of these degrees, Michael studied Arabic at the University of Chicago, and lived abroad in Tokyo, Japan, where he focused his attention on Japanese religion, culture, and language. Additionally, Michael was educated in Israel, where he centered his studies upon the relationships among those who profess a belief in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity throughout history, especially in modern-day Israel.

During Michael’s time at Fairfield, he made volunteering a major part of his life. He taught ESL to immigrants, worked locally with Habitat for Humanity, and traveled abroad to Haiti to work as a Mission Volunteer. These experiences helped cement his commitment to civic pride and social responsibility.

Upon graduation, Michael was accepted into the Peace Corps and served both his country and our broader community as an education volunteer in Morocco. After his time with the Peace Corps, Michael worked with the Human Development Foundation, living with and working alongside devastatingly poor families in the slums of Bangkok, Thailand. While there, Michael worked with the large number of adults and children living and suffering from HIV/AIDS, focusing much of his efforts at the center’s AIDS hospice and orphanage.

Michael’s sense of service brought him back to Chicago, where he applied to the Chicago Police Academy. Proud to be a Chicago Police Officer since 2003, Michael is now a decorated member of the department and works each day to ensure the safety and security of the citizens and taxpayers of Chicago.