Practical Safety Tips

Is That Information Safe?

Along with holiday merriment, every year we notice a spike in criminal activity reports on the news, NextDoor feeds, and word of mouth this time of year, groovy. Protecting ourselves, our families, and our possessions are among our top priorities, at least for me they are.

One way to protect yourself and by extension your home is with this super simple tip. I learned this from a professor years ago as a Criminal Justice major amid our studies of various types of crimes and ways to minimize your risks.

Use your discretion about keeping personal documents in your car

Use your discretion about keeping personal documents in your car

I realize The Department of Motor Vehicles and possibly your auto insurance company stipulate that you should keep your car registration and auto insurance documents in your glove compartment so that whoever drives your car has access to the proof of ownership and insurance. But think about this, if your car is broken into or stolen, the thief not only has access to these documents and some personal information, it is also a likely indication that no one is home and with some quick hot wiring, they have the wheels to get there. Of course, there may be others in the house while you are out running errands or at work, a spouse, a roommate, but what if your kiddos are home alone or the house is unoccupied?

In the nearly 40 years I have been driving, I have never left these documents or any type of receipts in my car for this reason. When I receive the updated insurance and registration cards, I make copies and place them in each of my purses so when I switch out purses, I do not forget to put the cards in. To cut down on papers cluttering my wallet, I print my car’s identification information on one side and my husband’s on the flip side so I am covered regardless of the car I drive.

For lining up 2 separate ID cards so that they match up on both sides of the documents for printing, here is my trick. You may have a simpler version with a photocopier.

Download the pdf of your ID card.

Paste Print Screen capture into word processor or publishing program. Crop the image, and then copy and paste to render number of copies needed.

Paste Print Screen capture into word processor or publishing program. Crop the image, and then copy and paste to render number of copies needed.

Open a word processing, desktop publishing, or photo editing program.

Press Print Screen on your keyboard to capture image.

Paste your ID card into whichever program you choose.

Select your crop tool, and crop the ID card.

Then place it as far up on the page as you can if you wish to make multiple copies for each of your purses or to give other family members.

Select copy and paste 2-3 times. You can probably squeeze in 3-4 copies.

Print current page.

Create a box by outlining each of the ID cards with a rectangle or square depending upon its shape. You can copy the first box and paste it over the other cards.

Remove the current ID cards but leave the boxes. You may have to play around with layer order such as “move to the back” pushing the ID cards to the front so you can “Cut” them.

Now repeat these steps for ID card #2 such as your spouse’s card:

Press Print Screen.

Paste their ID card into the program.

Place boxes around each card after printing first set of ID cards. You can copy and paste the boxes. Then remove the ID card image. Start process again with second auto’s ID card.

Place boxes around each card after printing first set of ID cards. You can copy and paste the boxes. Then remove the ID card image. Start process again with second auto’s ID card.

Select your crop tool, and crop the ID card sizing it to match one of the boxes.

Copy and paste to fill the remaining boxes.

Now print the current page. Be sure to face your paper in the direction your printer recommends to ensure that the image prints on the opposite side and in the correct location. My printer requires me to place the print side down and top side facing into the interior of the printer.

Fingers crossed, they should line up.

Yeah, my purse could be stolen, in fact, that happened years ago, but this is about minimizing risks not completely eliminating them. At least they didn’t get my car too. Under House Bill 2107 signed into law during the Kitzhaber administration in 2013, you may also choose to produce an electronic version of your insurance card if stopped by law enforcement. However, ensure you always have your phone with you and that it is charged.

As with any tip, use your own discretion. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.