Harrington Group Blog

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As most of us (if not all of us) know by now, filing tax returns on time is essential to avoiding penalties and additional fees. April 15th, the dreaded Tax Day, is the usual deadline. That is, unless April 15th falls on a weekend or a Holiday, in which your forms would be due on the following business day. Either way, this date is approaching quickly.

Times are hard, emergencies, and just life in general can often get the best of us. Luckily, we all have the option to file a tax extension if we fear the current deadline. It’s fairly easy to file an extension but there are some important points to stay aware of. Here is what you need to know, in order to pull it off flawlessly.

How much extra time does a tax extension grant?

For an individual, the answer is 6 whole months. When you submit your request for an extension of time to file your tax returns, you will be assigned a new due date of October 15th (woo!). Same as the current deadline, if October 15th falls on a weekend or a Holiday, your due date will be the following business day.

For a nonprofit organization, you can choose either 3 months or 6 months.

How do you request a tax deadline extension?

For an individual filing a tax extension, the process includes submitting a single form to the IRS: Form 4868 “Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This form can be sent via mail or e-filed using an online service. As an individual, you will not have to wait for the IRS to approve your request. You will be granted an automatic extension of your tax deadline. It’s important to note that you MUST submit the form 4868 by the April 15th deadline, in order to get your extension without penalty.

For a nonprofit organization filing a tax extension, the proper form to use would be the IRS Form 8868 “Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return”. This form will request an automatic 3 month extension but can also be used to apply for an additional 3 month (non-automatic) extension – taking it up to a total 6 month extension. It is important to keep in mind that for nonprofit organizations, the IRS will want a “reasonable cause” for filing an extension. As 2020 was a crazy year, and many businesses/organizations were understaffed (especially those that are non-essential), it is safe to say that there is much reasonable cause floating around.

When do you have to pay your taxes?

It is very crucial to note that although filing a tax extension grants you extra time to turn in all your paperwork, it does not grant you extra time to pay your fees. If you owe the IRS money, you should still submit payments by the April 15th deadline. There is ONE little loophole here – as long as you pay 90% of your fees by the April deadline (and you filed a tax extension request on time) then you may pay your outstanding balance by the extended October 15th deadline. This will not result in any penalties or extra fees.

Either way, make sure you file your taxes by your deadline (whether April 15th or an extended deadline) in order to avoid a failure-to-file penalty fee. Even if you cannot afford to submit your payments in full by your filing deadline, don’t skip it. The failure-to-pay penalty is not as expensive as the failure-to-file penalty.

Happy Tax Season!!!
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What to do in Pasadena this Spring

Spring has sprung! Here are some local events happening this Spring that anyone can enjoy.

Kidspace Children’s Museum: Butterfly Season This exhibit is celebrating the life cycle and habitat of butterflies and other pollinators alike. Test your knowledge and connect with nature in these new exhibits, activities, and programs. Here you can create a caterpillar, dress up as a butterfly, and take a spin on the museum’s newest interactive art installation. Butterfly season will be up until May 14th.

Pasadena City College Flea Market Need your flea market fix, but can’t wait for the second Sunday of the month? Try checking out another one of Pasadena’s notable flea markets, at Pasadena City College. This marketplace is open on April 2nd and is best known for selling high-end antiques and other rummage sale-type pieces. The market hosts over 400 vendors and is sure to be a hit.

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts This traveling exhibition will be hosted by the Huntington Library from March 21st - March 27th. The exhibit explores some of Disney Studios’ earliest creations and Walt Disney’s obsession with French motifs and European art. Expect to see many of the Walt Disney archives in addition to 18th-century European decorative art and design.

Family Spring Equinox Hike These tickets, available on EventBrite, include a nature based craft, lunch, and of course a guided hike at the gorgeous Eaton Canyon Trail Head. This event takes place on March 25th and is both pet and family friendly.

Sierra Madre Chorale 2023 Spring Concert Looking to support the arts? This concert takes place from May 19th - May 21st and is sure to be filled with wonderful sounds. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at allevents.in for just $12.

Pasadena Spring Home Show Looking to do some home improvement soon? This expo, taking place at the Pasadena Convention Center on March 25th and 26th is just the place for you. Meet home improvement professionals in a fun, interactive environment where you can see their work showcased.

America’s Got Talent Filming Enjoy live television? Prepare to be entertained beyond measure at the America’s Got Talent live tapings right in your own neighborhood. Tapings take place at the glamorous Pasadena Civic Auditorium and are free to attend.  All you have to do is be fully vaccinated and make a reservation at on-camera-audiences.com. As an added bonus, with your reservation, you’ll receive 25% off your food purchase at the nearby Yard House. Get ready to see Heidi, Simon, Howie, and Sofia in the flesh! Tapings are taking place from March 23rd - April 6th.

International Gem and Jewelry Show Looking for that perfect new piece? Head to this show to find the perfect engagement ring, watch, diamonds, gemstone, and more. Shop directly from designers, wholesalers, and manufacturers from March 31st to April 2nd at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Old Pasadena In-Person Walking Tour On Saturday, April 1st be led through this historic town by trained docents. Discover the secrets, unusual architectural details, old alleyways, and historic signs of the area. Tickets are just $22 for nonmembers and the tour meets at Central Park, on the corner of Dayton Street and Raymond Ave.
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5 Commonly Overlooked Tax Deductions

With tax season approaching, we at Harrington Group want to make sure you have the resources to receive the ultimate tax return! So today, we'll be showing you 5 of the most commonly overlooked tax deductions.

State Sales Taxes  This will not apply to the locations we primarily serve, however this is a frequently missed deduction in states that do not impose an income tax. When selecting between deducting state and local income taxes or state and local sales taxes, most California residents will often select the state and local income tax deduction, as it is a better deal for them.

For any Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming residents that may be reading, we recommend claiming the sales tax deduction on your tax return. You can do this in one of two ways. One way is to track all your sales tax paid throughout the year. Or if you purchased any big ticket items such as a home, boat, vehicle, airplane, or did major home renovations, you can add up the sales tax from these items. Keep in mind, every state has a different limit for these particular deductions.

Reinvested Dividends While this doesn’t technically qualify as a deduction, this can be a significant subtraction that could save you a ton in the end. If you are like most investors, you probably automatically reinvest your mutual fund and stock dividends in extra shares. This reinvestment technique is increasing your “tax basis” in the mutual fund or stock. As a result, your capital gain is reduced when selling shares.

Should you, though understandably, forget to include your reinvested dividends in your cost basis, you are probably overpaying your taxes. You find this by subtracting from the proceeds of sale to determine your gain. Consider using Turbo Tax’s s Cost Basis Lookup for assistance.

Out-of-Pocket Charitable Donations While its easy to remember the larger charitable gifts made throughout the year by payroll deduction or check, sometimes the small costs that incurred during a good deed can easily slip through the cracks. For example, if you regularly prepare a meal for a nonprofit or soup kitchen or buy stamps for a school fundraiser, these qualify as a charitable contribution. Additionally, any driving of your vehicle for charity calls for a deduction of 14 cents per mile.

Student Loan Interest (Paid by you OR someone else) Rules around this deduction are changing for the better. Even if someone else has paid back your loan, the IRS is treating it as though they gave you the money and you paid off the debt yourself. In turn, a student, not claimed as a dependent, can qualify for up to $2,500 worth of deductions.

Moving Expenses  Rules around this deduction are changing as well, as it now only applies to military personnel. If your relocation is permanent, ordered by the military, and you haven’t received government reimbursement for the move, you qualify. Start counting up those costs spent on lodging, moving, and shipping. Such great news for those who serve!

Keep these tips in mind as we approach tax season!
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10 Family Friendly Activities in Oakland

Looking for something fun to do with the family? Harrington found the fun, so you don't have to! Here are 10 family friendly activities throughout the Oakland area!

1. Children’s Fairyland This vintage-style amusement park is a must-see for any kid in the East Bay. Enjoy a petting zoo, live shows, kiddie rides, puppet shows, and family fun. It is just $15 to enter, but the park also features an annual membership option. Fairyland is open most days of the year from 10am to 4pm and is recommended for children ages 3 to 8.

2. Oakland Ice This indoor ice rink in downtown Oakland is open year round. Skate rental sizes begin at a toddler size 6. It's recommended that younger children dress in snow pants to help reduce the impact from falling. Dress warm and wear gloves!

3. Fentons Creamery This old-school ice cream parlor opened in 1894 and has since become a landmark institution for its world famous handcrafted ice creams and sauces. Additionally, they also offer a full menu of entrees–so whether your little one is in the mood for a supersized sundae or a full meal, this is the place to be! Some standouts on the menu are the black and tan sundae and the deconstrcuted banana split.

4. Chabot Space and Science Center This Oakland edwoods gem exposes children to STEM principles and the wonders of space. You can experiment with light, create photograph-like scenes, watch a planetarium show, or do a free telescope viewing. Since the 2020 renovations, the space features beautiful murals, innovative exhibits, and great furniture and layout. Currently, the center is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday. Tickets can be purchased both online and in person.

5. The Oakland Zoo This is the spot for a gondola ride, play areas, kiddie rides, and of course animals! Oakland Zoo features expansive spaces with a variety of wildlife habitats. Entry fees range from $20 to $24, but the park also features a membership format. You can always make a reservation ahead of time on the Oakland Zoo website.

6. Oakland Museum of California’s (OMCA) Friday Night This program is the best way to start the weekend. Art, science, and lots of fun can be expected here. On Fridays, you can find food trucks and live music. On any given day, the OMCA gardens have free entry. Be sure to check out the many interactive elements OMCA has to offer, they’re sure to be a blast for you and the family.

7. Oakland Library Events Every week is different, but these events include cool art workshops, storytimes, and playgroups. Be sure to check the library site directly for a breakdown of all the upcoming fun at the Oakland Library!

8. Temescal Regional Park and Lake Temescal This spaces offers paths for wandering, green areas for running, playing, picnics and more. And how could we forget…a lake to fish in!

9. The New Parkway Theater Looking for dinner and a movie? New Parkway Theater is just the place! Check their site for a kid-friendly title showing, come hungry, and enjoy entrees from the full-service cafe right in your seat. For the grownups, the wine and beer selection is a must! With the convenient and eclectic feel, this theater is a must-see.

10. The Oakland Aviation Museum Here, kids can walk right up to airplanes, and on Open Cockpit Days, hop inside! There are many deals on entry on any given day, just make sure to ask! Learn all about the history of flight and the future of what's to come in aviation!

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Tips for a Tangible To-Do List

No matter what it is you’re juggling, there just never seems to be enough time in the day. Whether you’re working from home, running a family household, juggling a job and going to school at the same time, or running multiple businesses, it's all too familiar to be stressed over a to-do list.

Modern day life can be overwhelming, to say the least. Tasks seem to stack up quicker than breakfast joint pancakes. Luckily, there are ways to manage! In comes…the TO-DO list. The catch all of your unresolved tasks and projects. At times, this list can be your worst enemy. But today we’re guiding you on how to turn your list into the invisible shoulder to cry on when you’re feeling like you don’t know where to start.

Not every approach to list making is effective…if you just write it down and forget about it, spill coffee on it and then accidentally throw it out, write it on a current page of your calendar planner but flip the page next week and leave the unresolved list behind…let’s just say there are some missteps that can stand in your way of productivity. Although not everyone works in the same way, we’ve got some tips for effective list making that are sure to help the average Joe or Jane. Let’s take a look…

Make A List

Okay Okay…this is a pretty obvious place to start but why do lists help? This is an important psychological step to calming your mind. Having all of your tasks floating around in your head contributes largely to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Once you are able to extract them from your cluttered mind and transfer them to a physical list, you can start to focus your attention on completing them, rather than just thinking about them.

The most important part of this step is to make a list that works for YOU. Some will prefer an old school pen and paper method (cute notebook, planner, scrap paper, post-it notes??), others will do better with a digital version (I-Notes, note taking apps, etc) or maybe you’re the type who likes a dry erase board next to your desk.

Personally, I have multiple lists locations. I use a white board marker on my bathroom mirror, so that I am reminded every morning of tasks that I can easily complete that day (there’s something ever so satisfying about erasing as the day goes on). Additionally, I am also an old school pen and paper loving kinda list maker. I carry my little notebook around in my bag, so that I can add to my list whenever I think of something in my head (we all know this can happen at the most random times and if not written down immediately, the idea is likely to slip away again, to return at another unknown time!).

 Keep It Updated

It’s important to stay active with your list. Keep it updated by crossing off items that have been completed and adding new items as they come up. Having access to your list when you are out and about will be helpful for this tip, so try to carry your notebook or planner along with you or if you choose a digital version, make sure it is accessible from your phone.

As the days or weeks go on, it is also helpful to evolve your list. Once you have crossed off a good chunk of items, transfer the remaining items to a new list and continue to add to that. This makes the most sense with handwritten lists, as they can get messy as you cross off and jam new items onto the paper.

Roll The Ball With Small Stuff

When you stare at a long list of TO-DOs with nothing checked off, it can feel a little like there’s no end. That’s okay because we can quickly jump over that hurdle by starting with some small and easily achievable tasks. Maybe one of your TO-DOs is to wash the dishes (which you estimate will take 10 minutes), this can be a great place to start. It may seem like something you don’t really need to write on your list, as you will see the dishes in your sink and remember that you need to handle that BUT adding even the smallest of tasks will allow you to cross them off. If you can cross off a handful of short tasks within, say 30 minutes or so, you will start to feel the joys of progress and your motivation to tackle the more time-consuming tasks will increase!

Identify Your Top Priorities 

Small tasks are perfect for building up your motivation and feeding your productivity but they aren’t always the most important line items. Every morning try to identify at least 3 of your top priority tasks. Is it tax season? Have you been putting off your bookkeeping? You don’t want to have a false sense of productivity by only checking off small stuff but continuing to avoid the big stuff. A good strategy here is to put some stars next to your high priority tasks. Make sure you are crossing off starred items on a daily or at least regular basis (depending on the length of your list, your schedule and timelines for completion).

It’s normal to procrastinate some of the big stuff. Another strategy that I like to use, is to add upcoming tasks (such as tax prep) to my TO-DO list very far in advance to the deadline that I wish to complete them by. This allows me to procrastinate them, without putting them out of my mind. I know that I won’t forget because it is accounted for but I also know that I have time to put it off…which for some reason feels relieving. By the time this big task becomes top priority, as deadline is approaching, I feel more ready to tackle it, as I have been writing it down on a continuous stream of TO-DOs for months and mentally preparing myself to get it done when the time is right.

Plan Ahead

Having a list is helpful, we’ve established that. Yet, what if you don’t save yourself the time to actually tackle the list? This can be problematic and renders the list mostly ineffective. In order to avoid this, make sure you plan ahead. Whether you have a set 9-5 job or your working hours are more sporadic, choose some time slots that you can spend crossing items off your list. Maybe 30 minutes when you wake up in the morning is a good time to tackle some of the small stuff, to get the ball rolling. Perhaps you can take a lunch break to handle a top priority item and maybe the evening is a good time to check off one or a few more things. Everyone’s schedule is different but if you plan accordingly, you can even set yourself a timer. Whether it’s a 10-minute timer to tidy up your house or a 30-minute timer to work on a more time-consuming task, it will help to keep your mind focused on productivity and allow less distractions to veer you off course.


Life can be overwhelming but the most important tip I have for you is to stay calm. No matter how expansive your list is or how busy your life is, you will always be more equipped to handle the load when you are cool, calm and collected.
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Meet the Partners: Carlos Davis

Like any great family, Harrington Group loves to shine a spotlight and celebrate our people! This week, we are shining the spotlight on managing partner Carlos Davis.

Carlos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Being a part of a family of accountants, his exposure to the accounting profession started early by performing physical inventories during his school breaks in the summer. Before transferring to the Universidad San Martin de Porres’ to focus on accounting, Carlos studied art for a while. After his first semester, Carlos began his auditing career by joining the CPA firm Pizarro, Coloma & Asociados. As a Staff Auditor and later Audit Manager, he worked on financial and operational audits of governmental agencies on behalf of the country’s Comptroller General.

Carlos was also a part of JLV Home Health Care Agencies, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles, where he worked as an Accounting Manager. At JLV Carlos embraced the passion of working in the nonprofit sector and it is where he first encountered the need for individuals to receive services and closely witnessed the outstanding work that nonprofit organizations perform in order to fulfill those needs. It was in 1999, when Carlos A. Davis first joined Harrington Group.

At Harrington Group, Carlos works closely with many of the firm’s government-funded nonprofits. His client areas include residential programs, foster family agencies, mental health service providers, non-public schools, vocational training agencies, child care agencies and legal services corporations. Fluent in English and Spanish, he especially enjoys interacting personally with people at all levels within his clients’ operations, and building relationships that extend far beyond the engagement at hand.

Outside of work, Carlos has always been a big Lakers fan. He is guaranteed to be decked out in Lakers paraphernalia during the season.  Carlos’ additional passions include attending soccer matches and Formula 1 racing events. Carlos’ perfect vacation is traveling to coastal cities with his wife, daughter, and son while relaxing on the sand “doing nothing” as a way to break from his daily routine.

Carlos is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

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Every year, we feel so lucky to be in Pasadena! In addition to the amazing food, shopping, and drinks, we always look forward to the holidays. Because this means its time for our favorite local event, The Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

The Rose Parade travels down Colorado Blvd for five and a half miles and has four different types of entries. A participating corporation, non-profit organization or municipality, equestrian units, bands, and Tournament Entries can enter a floral decorated float in the Rose Parade. Many of the participants have been in the tournament for years and enjoy keeping the tradition alive.

At the first Tournament of Roses, the parade hosted 3,000 spectators that came to watch horse-drawn carriages decorated with flowers. Fast forward more than a century later, the parade floats feature the best in technology but all tucked under the flowers.

This year’s theme, announced by the Tournament of Roses President, Amy Wainscott, is “Turning the Corner”. This theme exemplifies all thats to come in 2023, the unlimited potential brought on by the new year. Wainscott explained, “Turning a corner means rising above – alone, or with family, friends and community. This year, as we turn the corner together, we share in the hope, beauty and joy of what 2023 will bring.”.

Whether you’re looking to see a football game, beautiful floats, or hear music from the best marching bands, Pasadena’s Rose Bowl is the place to be on Janurary 2nd.
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The holidays are here and while reuniting with family and shopping for holiday gifts can be the best of times, there's no denying the stress that can often come with these festivities. From financial advice to mental health tips, we hope this blog helps you thrive this holiday season.

Reflect on what is important to you during the holidays. Sitting and thinking about what you want for yourself and/or your family this holiday season could be very beneficial. This can lead to more intentionality regarding who you’re spending time with and what you’re doing. If you value having a meaningful holiday, giving yourself the time to determine what will make it meaningful is extremely valuable. While it may change each year, this reflection can help steer your holiday season in the right direction.

Communicate clearly how others can assist or support you. When family members or friends offer to help you wrap, cook, or shop…accept! Sometimes people may be unsure how best to help as needs and wants change so frequently from year to year. When people understand clearly what you need, they are happy to help and are able to make the time to provide ample support.

Manage your spending. The holidays tend to make us feel the pressure of consumerism. One way to decrease the financial burden is by setting and sticking to a budget. Thoughtfulness doesn’t always have to mean a hefty price tag. By initiating a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange in place of buying every individual a gift. Some other options include giving to a favorite charity in the name of a family member or providing gift certificates for things like snow shoveling, baby sitting, a home-cooked meal, movie night, or other time together.

Manage your expectations for family gatherings. Before a gathering, think through your boundaries, what you need, and what you can be flexible on. With different generations and multiple families in one place celebrating all together, it can sometimes lead to conflict or not feeling heard or understood.

Realize the holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. With the many social gatherings this time of year, it can be easy to begin compromising your physical or mental health by doing too much. Be sure to pace yourself, practice saying “no” without remorse, and allow yourself to deal with missing out on some outings. Remember to pace yourself this holiday season.

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It's that time of year again…Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving Dinners are in full effect. Struggling to decide what to contribute? Want to switch things up? Harrington Group is here to help! Whether you are hosting dinner, or adding to the potluck, this side dish is SURE to shine.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Here’s what you need:

Fresh Sage. Finely chopped, 1 tablespoon.
Onion. The whole thing, diced.
Kosher Salt.
Olive Oil. ½ Cup.
Butternut Squash. About 4 cups, peeled.
Oyster Mushrooms. 1 pound, roughly chopped.
Swiss Chard. 1 pound, with leaves removed from stem.
No-Boil Lasagna Sheets. 12 to be exact.
Parmigiano Reggiano. About 1 cup grated.
Low Moisture, Whole Milk Mozzarella. 8 ounces, pulled into small pieces.

Ready to cook? Here’s all you need to do:

Get to Saucin. Start by heating olive oil in a pot and add in chopped sage until you begin to smell it. Next throw in your cubed squash, diced onion, water, salt, and pepper. Simmer this until your squash is tender. Once that is ready, place the mix into a food processor. Adding salt and pepper to taste is necessary. Transfer your delicious sauce into a bowl or some sort of storage vessel.

Make that Lasagna. Preheat your oven to 375. Oil a large skillet and raise heat. Next, add in your mushrooms and season with salt and cook them until the edges are browned. Move these to a bowl to cool. Going back to your skillet, add in your swiss chard leaves and season with salt. Using tongs, rearrange the leaves, encouraging them to wilt. Lastly, transfer your leaves to cool.

Lasagna...Assemble! Layer up! Line a baking dish with your butternut squash sauce and three sheets of lasagna noodles on a baking dish. Evenly distribute your mushrooms, swiss chard leaves, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese into the layers as well. Repeat this until your final layer, which will instead be topped with boiled water to ensure moisture.

Final Product. Let the lasagna sit covered with foil in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Lastly, transfer the pan into the oven to bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-20 minutes. You’ll want to remove the pan once the cheese is melted, golden, and bubbly.

*Recipe courtesy of alexandracooks.com*
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7 Ways to Stay Safe this Holiday Season

Tis’ the season of shopping and travel! Harrington Group wants to help you stay safe and cheerful for the holidays. In this blog, we’ll provide some tips for the upcoming months.

1) Plan Deliveries. Consider having your packages delivered to a designated delivery location, place of work, or providing delivery instructions. When your packages are mailed to your front door or mailbox, you are at a higher risk for theft.

2) Do not leave property unattended. When you’re out and about, remember to protect your belongings. Don’t place a purse in a shopping cart, a wallet on the counter while paying, or a cellphone on a restaurant table that could potentially go unattended.

3) Lock It, Take It, Keep It. During this time of year, theft from vehicles is much more common. Make sure to always take items of value out of your car. If you cannot, make sure these items are not in view. Items such as laptops, purses, cell phones, credit cards, wallets, and sunglasses are easy targets for thieves because of their small size.

4) Limit cash and credit cards. Only carry the amount of cash and credit cards you need. This can prevent loss in the event of theft. On the financial side of things: this can also help prevent unnecessary spending.

5) Be aware of your surroundings. Mind your Personal Safety by always parking in a well-lit, well-traveled area. Avoid situations in which you’ll be overloaded with packages. When in a crowded area, personal belongings are at high risk, be mindful of distractions. Don’t carry social security cards or passports.

6) Protect your home. With burglaries at an all-time high, it is essential to keep all doors and windows locked. Consider checking in on your exterior lighting and security systems at home. If you are leaving town anytime soon, you should consider the following: put timers on interior and exterior lights, get mail and packages picked up by someone, and most importantly, ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home while away.

7) If you see something, say something. Contact your local Police Department to report any suspicious activity. Pasadena: (626) 744 - 4501. Oakland: (510) 777 - 3333. To report a crime in progress, call 9-1-1.

Cheers to staying safe this holiday season!

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