By Lt. Steve Brock, CSPD Public Information Officer
Spring break is a time of fun and relaxation for many students. But it can also be a time for criminals to thrive.
Don’t let crime spoil your vacation. You can reduce your chances of being a victim by following these tips to protect your home — and yourself — while you’re away.
Protect Your Home
- Don’t advertise your plans to strangers or on social media outlets.
- Make sure your home looks lived in since most burglars want to avoid confrontation.
- Stop mail and newspaper deliveries or ask a friend or neighbor to make daily collections.
- Hide empty garbage cans or ask a neighbor to move your container to the curb and bring it in after collection.
- Leave shades and blinds in normal positions.
- Put an automatic timer on lights and radios, preferably tuned to talk radio.
- If possible, have neighbors randomly park their vehicle in your driveway.
- Leave a key with a trusted neighbor. Don’t hide keys in a mailbox or under a doormat or planter – or anywhere outside.
- Store valuables in a safe deposit box or take smaller items with you.
- Make a record of the serial numbers for your valuable items and take the list with you, store it in your safe deposit box or send it to your personal email account.
- Engrave your driver’s license number or a unique identifying mark on the back of all electronics and computers.
- Lock all windows and doors. Double lock windows with inexpensive key locks.
- Double check garage doors before you leave and unplug or disarm automatic garage door openers if possible.
- If you’re leaving a vehicle at home, don’t leave your garage door opener in it.
- Lock gates to fenced back yards.
- Make sure your friends and relatives know where you’re vacationing. Call friends or family members to let them know you’ve arrived and returned safely.
- If you drink, do it in moderation and make responsible decisions. Follow the alcohol laws at your destination.
- Have a designated driver or designated sober friend in your group to be sure everyone gets home safely.
- If a member of your group passes out from alcohol consumption, call 911 immediately.
- There’s safety in numbers. Try your best to stay around your friends, and never go anywhere alone.
- Don’t ever allow a friend go off with strangers and never take strangers to your room.
- Don’t assume that someone you’ve just met will look out for your best interests. Acquaintances sexually assault more people than strangers.
- Only accept drinks from a licensed bartender or consume drinks you pour yourself. If you don’t know the source of the drink, you risk receiving an altered beverage.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, know where you’re at, and know how to get back to your hotel.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or traveler’s checks. Don’t flash your money around or let anyone know how much money you have with you.
- Don’t be a victim of identity theft. Never allow someone access to your personal identification or credit cards, which should always be kept in your purse or wallet and never left unattended.
- Be cautious when sharing your personal information or where you are staying.
- Ensure the safety of your valuables by not bringing them or locking them in a hotel safe. If you don’t have access to a safe, stow your valuables in the trunk of your car or a secure place in your room.
- Always keep your hotel room door locked. Use the peephole before answering the door, and never open it for someone you don’t know.
- Finally, trust your instincts. If a situation or your surroundings make you uneasy, you probably sense something. Be watchful and alert.
Have a fun, relaxing – and safe – spring break!
About the Author
Lt. Steve Brock has been with the College Station Police Department since 2004.
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