Purim is here! The joyous holiday brings out the costumes, the gifts and charity! But there are those out there that may try and take advantage of our open and welcoming homes. Shomrim has compiled a list of tips that can help prevent the holiday from turning sad.
Crown Heights Shomrim wants to advise community residents to use caution and play it safe, to keep the joyous laughter from suddenly turning to tears.
Strangers may show up at your door – and may be wearing masks or other costumes. If you let someone you don’t know into your house, be alert and keep your eyes open. Make sure you keep your doors closed and locked, so that the only people coming into your home are those whom you specifically let in – not people who just “wander in”.
If you are giving money to tzedakah collectors, keep your money or your checkbook on your person – not laying around where anybody who walks in can pocket it when you’re not looking and walk out with it.
You may have a camera or camcorder out to take pictures of friends who come in, but do not leave it carelessly laying around so that someone can walk off with it. Other valuables, such as watches, jewelry, etc., should of course be guarded with the same care.
If you wish to give a collector or someone else you don’t know a drink, have the wine or liquor already out and on the table. Don’t leave a stranger alone while you go rummaging in the next room for it. Walk a stranger into your house and walk him or her out again – and do not allow anyone you don’t know to wander around your house (say to the bathroom) unwatched or unescorted.
If a child is going out to collect tzedakah, – even, and especially, a teenager – make sure you know when he or she is leaving, where they are going, with whom, by what route, and what time they expect to come back.
Give your child a fully charged cell phone and have him or her call to check in with you at established times. Children under 12 years old should not go out by themselves to collect, or even just to enjoy the holiday, but should go in a group, preferably under adult supervision.
With people coming in and out of your house, be sure you know the whereabouts of your younger children, and make sure they do not inadvertently wander off when the door is open. The same is true if you live with elderly family members as well.
Please be advised that it is absolutely illegal for anyone under 21 years old to possess or use alcoholic beverages, and illegal for an older person to give them any. It is also absolutely illegal to drink and drive. Anyone who does so endangers his own life (thus, violating a Torah commandment), endangers the lives of any passengers, and also those of pedestrians in the street and other motorists, and he creates a great chillul Hashem as well.
A person who has been drinking, even a little, should not drive a car, even if you think you “can handle it”. Instead, give your keys to someone who has not been drinking, and let them drive.
SUSPICIOUS CHARACTERS OR OTHER ISSUES
If you see anything out of the ordinary or suspicious, – whether on Purim or at any other time – don’t hesitate to call the Crown Heights Shomrim on the Emergency Hotline.
Shomrim wishes everyone a Happy Purim – AND A SAFE ONE AS WELL!
24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are on the highest alert and are always ready to help!