Five ways to stay safe and vigilant

Keeping safe has never been more important.

Follow these security tips to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Using your ATM card

Whenever you’re making a withdrawal or deposit, make sure you check for under and overhead cameras and pull on the swipe to see if there is a skimming device. A skimmer machine can be installed at any ATM.

It is safer using a bank ATM than one in a restaurant or bar but remember they can be compromised too. Always check.

2. Parking your car

When you are going to the mall, supermarket or anywhere you park your car make sure you leave it in a space that is close to the store or venue and is well-lit. Too many people with new or leased cars want to park more remotely so they reduce the risk of their car being scratched or dinged. That is a mistake. Always think of your personal safety first. Be aware of your surroundings both entering and exiting the vehicle, especially if you have packages that can make you more of a target.

3. Large crowds

It may seem like common sense but if you’re in a place like Penn Station, an airport, arena, stadium or travelling on public transit and you see a back pack or bag that is left unattended, report it immediately. Officials take it seriously and though someone may have just forgotten it and it turns out to be harmless, it is important to be safe rather than risk the alternative. “If you see something, say something” remains good advice.

4. Opioid crisis

The opioid crisis has been in the news a lot lately and while you may not think it pertains to you, it really is everyone’s problem, not only those who are addicted. The incidence of theft has gone up as a result of people who are desperate to fund their addiction.

One area you should always protect is your car. It’s important that you not leave anything of value in plain sight — your phone, loose change, etc. And remember to always lock your car. If thieves see something of value they would likely break a window, but it’s best to take every precaution. Hide your belongings. If you drive an SUV use a shade for the cargo area. If they don’t see anything of monetary value they are likely to move on. And don’t be lured into a false sense of security because the car is in your driveway. This problem affects every ZIP code.

5. At work

I work for a large organization with nearly 63,000 employees. It’s important to remember not everyone is a good person. You want to make sure to protect yourself from crimes of opportunity. Do not leave things out and unsecured. Don’t leave things like a pocket book under your desk or leave wallets or valuable items in the open. Keep things in locked drawers, whenever possible and out of sight if it is not. If you find something is missing, make sure you contact corporate security.

James Romagnoli joined Northwell Health in 2002, after a long career in the New York City Police Department. He also worked with the Nassau County Fire Service for 29 years, serving as the fire chief of the New Hyde Park Fire Department. He is responsible for maintaining regional situational awareness for the health system, and responding to and managing all emergencies at any of the health system facilities.