December usually brings a high peak in crime in Colombia and particularly in the cities. We encourage all ECA families to practice extra caution. The local authorities report that most crime happens around malls and in traffic, especially while the victims are using their cell phones and/or driving.

Authorities also have the following recommendations to stay safe:

Care in Public

  • Keep an eye on your personal belongings
  • Avoid bringing high value or flashy items, especially to places with a high influx of people.
  • Keep an eye on your children. Always take them by the hand and make sure they have a card with your family details, in case they get lost.
  • Avoid carrying too many packages; try to keep your purchases to a single bag.
  • Do not leave your vehicle parked on public roads, and especially keep items of value out of sight.

Remember that the National Police are here to provide the help you require. However, self-care is necessary, and understanding safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Going on Vacation

  • Check your home security before leaving; for example, check that no windows are broken.
  • If your house keys were possibly tampered with by someone other than your close family circle, change your locks.
  • Do not leave valuables in sight through windows.
  • Verify that your water and gas are turned off. Criminals can use these to generate emergencies and then gain access by impersonating service providers.
  • Do not discuss your travel plans with strangers or neighbors.
  • Do not inform strangers how long you will be gone.
  • When reporting your trip to your complex’s administration and to any private security company, verify that this information is recorded in their record book, as it helps maintain better control, so that the guards are more aware of your home and won’t let anyone in without your permission.
  • If your residence has an alarm, it is important to leave it active while you are away.
  • Check your security systems: carry out functional tests before leaving on vacation.
  • Consider taking advantage of new technology that allows you to have constant supervision from your cell phone.
  • If you have a security service, review and update the protocols or recommendations with your provider.
  • Maintain good communication with the security entities in your area, as well as with the closest CAI (Centro de Atención Inmediato).

Other General Tips

  • Frequently change your out-and-about routines, or an offender can more easily plan the time and place to attack.
  • The one who manages the information controls the risk. Information is vital, so refrain from publicizing your movements and activities on social networks and in public places where you can be overheard.
  • The combination of security elements in homes or businesses, such as alarms, bars, and cameras, among others, encourages criminals to choose other easier targets.
  • Check the condition of an ATM before using it. If there are any foreign objects stuck to it, do not use it.
  • Do not use birth dates or identity card numbers as passwords, as they are too obvious and easy for criminals to try.
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