This is the time of year when many of us travel to spend the holidays with our family and friends. In fact, even with record high gas prices in many parts of our country, it is estimated that millions of Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their homes during this 2007 holiday season.
Unfortunately, many criminals will take advantage of us when we let our guard down during this festive time. Here are some general holiday travel ideas, suggested by security and law enforcement professionals, to help make your holiday travel safer and more secure.Before you leave on your holiday trip, tell a trusted neighbor of your travel plans, and provide a telephone number where you can be reached in case of an emergency.See if you can have this trusted neighbor pick-up your daily mail and newspaper deliveries, as well as any advertising flyers and circulars that you may receive while you are gone.
A Quick Security Tip: If possible, perhaps one of your neighbor's vehicle can be parked in your driveway.In general, only tell your holiday travel plans to those who really need to know and who you trust. Never leave your travel details on your answering machine’s message.
A Quick Security Tip: Always make sure you keep your garage door closed and locked. This is one of the most common ways bandit burglars make entry into your home.Use automatic timers to turn your lights and radio on and off (turn your radio to a talk show rather than a music station) at varying times while you are gone.Carry traveler’s checks or credit cards, and not large amounts of cash. Also, leave all your jewelry, airline tickets, and other valuables in a secure room safe or the hotel’s safety deposit box. Be sure to have a written record of your traveler’s checks and credit card numbers — and keep them in a safe place — in case the traveler’s checks or credit cards are lost or stolen.When staying at a hotel or motel, if possible, never leave your luggage unattended.
A Quick Security Tip: It is a common tactic of thieves to use a “distraction” to steal your valuables while you are at the airport or while you are checking in.When you get to your hotel room, it may be a good idea to determine the best, most direct, routes to the stairs and fire escapes in case of an emergency. Also locate and use any locking device on your room’s door, windows and balcony.Never automatically open your hotel room door. Always know the identity of the person on the other side of the door (most hotel room doors should have peepholes). If you have any doubt as to the identity of the person, contact the hotel’s front desk for verification. Also, be sure to report to the front desk, hotel security and police any suspicious persons or activities you may observe.When you leave your room, even for a brief period of time, always properly secure and lock the door. And, as you did with your house before you left for your holiday travel, leave a light and radio/TV on before you leave your hotel room for the evening. Make sure you know the proper emergency number to call the in case of a police, fire, or medical emergency (in most areas within the United States this number is 911; however there may be still a few locations in which they may not use 911, so be sure to check).
A Quick Security Tip: Some hotels may require that you first dial a “9” or other number to get an outside line before you can call 911. Always be sure to check this when you arrive at your designation.While enjoying you holiday travel, you can never be too aware, too prepared or too careful.
For more information on holiday travel security and safety, contact your local law enforcement agency. They will be happy to assist you in making your holiday travel as safe and secure as possible.
My Final Thoughts: Never leave your “common sense” at home while you are enjoying your holiday travel. “Common sense” is your best choice for you and your family’s safety and security.
(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.)
Copyright 2007 by Bruce Mandelblit
“Staying Safe” with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and Newsmax magazine.
Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer.
Bruce writes "Staying Safe," a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.
Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel — the state’s highest honor — for his public service.
This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.
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