Richland County Sheriff’s Department
Home Protection and Travel Safety Tips During The Holiday Season; Let’s Plan Ahead!
Sheriff Leon Lott extends the warmest wishes and the best for this holiday season. During this time of year, Sheriff Leon Lott asks you to stay alert to your surroundings and follow these holiday safety tips for your protection:
Holiday Travel Tips
As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, families are preparing to go out of town. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott encourages citizens to prepare for traveling to their destination and to safeguard your homes while you are away. Sheriff Leon Lott would ask that you ask someone to collect your mail or newspaper while you are away, ask a neighborhood to place your trash on the curb on collection day and occasionally park a car in the driveway. Sheriff Leon Lott would also emphasize that you let a neighbor or family member know where you are going and when you are expected to return. The Sheriff encourages you to give this individual a key to your home in case of an emergency. Sheriff Leon Lott reminds citizens that you can notify the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, when you are away, so that your home can be placed on special property check by calling (803) 576-3102.
Sheriff Leon Lott also wants citizens to be reminded that your actual traveling safety is important as well. Sheriff Leon Lott states that when citizens are traveling they should avoid traveling with large amounts of cash; they should carry credit cards or travelers checks. Sheriff Leon Lott states citizens should make photocopies of all their identification cards in case they are lost or stolen. Do not travel outside your normal travel route; if you need to change your route ask a law enforcement officer for directions or your hotel staff.
Know your route
· Tell someone the route you are taking and approximate time of arrival or return.
· Keep your car in good condition with the gas tank at least half full.
· Park in well-lighted areas and lock your doors, no matter how long you’ll be gone.
· Put valuables out of sight or in the trunk.
· Drive with all doors locked and windows rolled up.
· Never pick up hitchhikers. If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, turn on the flashers, and move to the passenger seat. Do not leave your car. If someone stops to help, roll down the window slightly and ask them to call the police or a tow truck.
· Avoid underground and enclosed garages if possible.
· When parking or returning to your vehicle, carry your keys and be aware of your surroundings.
· NO ONE, including KIDS, CATS, DOGS, or ANY animals should be left alone in a vehicle, even if the temperatures outside seem moderate. One mistake can cost lives and also change lives forever!!!
When arriving at the hotel, scan the parking lot and area, trust your instincts. Does the place look well kept and safe? What is your comfort level?
· Park your vehicle in a well-lit area close to the lobby where you can see your vehicle and occupants.
· Before getting out of your vehicle, check your surroundings for suspicious people.
· When leaving your vehicle, put valuables out of sight and be sure to lock it.
· Memorize your vehicle license information so you don’t have to go back outside.
· When checking in, make reservations ahead of time to prevent being stranded with no vacancies or unsafe accommodations.
· Women traveling along may prefer to sign in using only a first initial and last name.
· Register using your business address.
· When arriving in your room, store valuables in a hotel safe and get receipt instead of leaving them in your vehicle.
· Don’t enter your room if someone is loitering in the area and watching you. Report this to the front desk immediately.
· Be sure the locks on your door are working properly.
· Familiarize yourself with the closest fire evacuation route.
· Make sure you know how to use the phone in your room and that you can dial out to 9-1-1.
· Memorize the name and address of the hotel and your room number.
· Use the “peep hole” to identify visitors. Never open the door to strangers.
· When going out hang the “do not disturb” sign on the doorknob and leave a light and radio or TV on.
· Do not enter an elevator if someone inside seems suspicious.
· Inquire at the front desk about safe places to eat, shop, walk, or jog. Ask for a map of the area.
· Do not leave valuables or cash in your car
· If you must leave items in the car, put them in the trunk. If you have folding rear seats, make sure those are locked also
· When driving, always lock your doors
· If you have small children, check to see if your rear vehicle doors have child safety locks and, if so, activate them (Your owner’s manual will give you the specifics)
· Always let loved ones know where you’re going and how to reach you. It could be as simple as a note on the refrigerator or a message on the answering machine
· Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.
· Trim back shrubbery hiding doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb to second story windows
· Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lighted
· Maintain the neighborhood. Dark alleys, litter, and rundown areas that attract criminals
· Do not hide house keys in mail boxes, planters, or under doormats
· Do not put personal identification on key rings
· Leave only your ignition key with mechanics or parking attendants
· If you lose the keys to your home or move into a new home, change the locks immediately
Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home – this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques.
· Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
· Consider installing a burglar system.
· Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 immediately.
Remember the three L’s of Crime Prevention:
Lights, Locks, and the Law!
Light up your residence
Lock your doors at all times, and call the
Law when you see something suspicious and put your house on special property check while you’re gone!
For more holidays safety tips please contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Community Action Team at (803) 576-3191 or log on at www.rcsd.net
and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialRCSDPage