December 20, 2014

Sheriff Ross Henry Issues Holiday Safety Tips

Well friends, 2013 has almost come and gone with 2014 is just around the corner. This is the time of year when many of us will be taking trips to visit friends and family. It is also the time of year when our Christmas shopping begins.

The holiday season should be a time of fun, excitement and fellowship with those close to us. It is also a time to help those in need.

We all know that the economic state the Country is in at this time, is still on the decline. Due to the cut backs and lay offs from companies, many people are still unemployed. It is also fact that during times such as these, the crime rate tends to increase.

I wanted to make all of you aware of some things that we can do as individuals and as communities to make this a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Please take time to read over these safety tips and remind your family and friends as well.

Since many of us will be traveling during the holidays, remember the following:

- Never leave your home unlocked even for a short time.
– Make sure you have a strong lock and security chain on all doors
– Install a home security system/alarm with cameras
– Never hide extra door keys near the door
– Keep valuables and/or large sums of money in a safety deposit box
– Leave a light on in a bedroom or bathroom or use an electric timer
– Make sure your yard is well lit
– Stop all deliveries such as mail & newspapers
– Secure all lawn mowers, 4-wheelers, bicycles, etc.
– Request home security checks from your local law enforcement agency
– Make sure all windows are locked
– Have a neighbor or someone else you trust to keep check on your home

Since you may be planning to travel by vehicle, make sure to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. Before hitting the open road, make your trip safe and smooth by checking the following:

-Tires (air pressure, wear/tear) Do you have a spare?
– Safety Restraints (child seats, booster seats, seat belts)
-Lights (headlights, brake lights, turn signals)
-Emergency Kit (flares, jumper cables, jack, flashlights)
-Wiper Blades
-Fluids (oil, brake, windshield, radiator)
-Belts & hoses (fan belt, radiator hose, etc.)
-Always follow the rules of the road and abide by all state laws

While you are on the road or may be even shopping at your local malls, you need to make sure your vehicle is protected from theft as well. Here are just a few reminders:

- Roll up all windows
– Lock your vehicle
– Take the keys with you
– Park in a busy, well lighted area
– Don’t leave any personal identification documents inside the vehicle
– Keep all valuables and packages inside the trunk, out of sight
– Install/activate any anti-theft systems on your vehicle
– Never leave your vehicle running
– Install a mechanical locking device (club, collar or j-bars)

Now, let’s talk about “street smarts”. While you are out shopping or vacationing, remember these safety tips:

- Never leave your purse/wallet in dressing rooms
– Never sit your purse on the floor in public bathrooms where they can be grabbed
– Keep your purse in hand while riding in taxis, buses, etc.
– Keep a firm grip on your purse while in crowded areas.
– Never leave your purse on the counter when making a purchase
– Never display money in crowded areas
– Be aware of any suspicious movement such as someone bumping into you
– Keep wallets in front pocket rather than your back pocket in crowded areas
– Always be alert and maintain a calm manner
– Trust your instincts-if something/someone makes you uneasy, avoid the situation
– If walking, stay in well lit areas & avoid short cuts
– Don’t wear clothing that restricts your movement
– Have your car or house key in hand before reaching the door
– If you feel someone is following you, don’t go home. Drive to nearest law enforcement agency, fire station, gas station and ask for help
– Don’t pick up hitchhikers

Let’s talk about ATM safety for a minute:

- Always use during daylight hours
– Memorize your PIN number & don’t carry it with you
– Use drive-through ATMs rather than walk-ups
– If you must use an ATM at night, ask someone to go with you
– Never leave your receipt-take it with you
– Never accept help from anyone
– Be wary of anyone who crowds you or tried to view your transaction
– If someone or something makes you uneasy, terminate the transaction and go to another ATM machine.

While shopping, remember the following as well:

- Never carry too many packages/shopping bags at one time.
– Secure all purchases in the trunk compartment of vehicle, out of plain sight
– If it is late at night, ask a security officer or store employee to escort you to your vehicle

“Please be aware that this is only a few things that we can do to keep ourselves safe, not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year as well. If you have any questions on safety measures you can take, please contact the Heard County Sheriff’s Office. We will be more than happy to assist you and answer questions or concerns you may have. I wish you all a very safe and Happy Holiday Season” ~Heard County Sheriff Ross Henry

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