Between now and the start of the new year, millions of Americans will take holiday vacations and family trips. In fact, many of us look forward to our holiday vacation all year long. Unfortunately, thieves and thugs will use our hard-earned vacations as an opportunity for their nasty crimes. Here are some ideas, suggested by security and law enforcement professionals, to help make your vacation and travel more secure.
1. Before you leave on your holiday vacation, tell a trusted neighbor of your travel plans, and give them a telephone number where you can be reached in case of an emergency.
2. 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 this trusted neighbor can also park their vehicle in your driveway.
3. In general, only reveal your vacation 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.
4. It is also an excellent idea to use automatic timers to turn on and off your lights and radio (turn your radio to a talk show rather than a music station) at varying times while you are gone.
5. Carry traveler’s checks or credit cards -- 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. When you leave your room, even for a brief period of time, always be sure to properly lock the door. And, as you did with your house before you left for your vacation travel, leave a light and radio/TV on before you leave your hotel room for the evening.
A Quick Security Tip: Make sure you know the proper emergency number to call for a police, fire or medical emergency (in most areas within the United States this number is 9-1-1, however there still may be a few locations where they do not use 9-1-1, so be sure to check.)
10. While enjoying you vacation travel, you can never be too aware, too prepared or too careful.
These are just a few of the security and safety ideas you may use during your vacation. For more information, contact your local police department’s crime prevention officer.
My Final Thoughts: Never put your “common sense” on vacation. Sound and prudent judgment is often your best tool in making your holiday vacation and travel as enjoyable and secure as possible. Have a fun – and safe – vacation!
I would like to end this column with the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from his iconic poem Christmas Bells: “…The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Note: If you manufacture or distribute any security, safety, emergency preparedness, homeland defense related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: [email protected]
Copyright 2008 by Bruce Mandelblit
“Staying Safe” with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of Newsmax.com.
Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: [email protected]
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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