HOUSTON --Spring break is just around the corner, and many families and college students are traveling to destinations. These tips come from officials at Texas A&M University.
Some tips to consider to help protect your local residence:
- Make sure your home looks lived in since most burglars want to avoid confrontation.
- Stop mail and newspapers 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 automatic timer on lights and radios (preferably a talk radio show).
- If possible have neighbors randomly park their vehicle in your driveway.
- Leave a key with trusted neighbor.
- Do not hide keys in a mailbox, under a doormat or planter or anywhere outside.
- Store valuables in 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 the information 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 you can purchase at the store.
- Double check garage doors before you leave (unplug or disarm automatic garage door openers if possible).
- If you are leaving a vehicle at home ? do not leave your garage door opener in your vehicle.
- Lock gates to fenced back yards.
- Don't advertise your plans to strangers or on social media outlets.
Some tips for safety at your destination:
- Make sure your friends and relatives know where you will be vacationing. Call friends or family members to let them know that you have arrived and returned safely.
- If you plan on drinking as part of your spring break experience, drink in moderation and make responsible decisions. Know 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.
- Remember! There's safety in numbers. Try your best to stay around your friends. Never go anywhere alone. Don't ever let a friend go off with strangers by themselves or take them back to your room.
- Don't assume that someone you've just met will look out for your best interests. Keep in mind that more people are sexually assaulted by acquaintances than by strangers.
- Only accept drinks from a licensed bartender or drinks that you pour yourself. You put yourself at risk for receiving an altered beverage if you don't know the source of the drink.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Know where you're at and how to get back to your hotel.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or traveler's checks. Don't "flash" your money around and don't inform people about the amount of money you brought with you.
- Never allow someone access to your personal identification or credit cards. These item should always be kept in your purse or wallet and never left unattended, or you could become a victim of identity theft.
- Be cautious when divulging your personal information or where you are staying.
- Ensure the safety of your valuable belongings by either not bringing them or having them locked in a hotel safe. If the place you are staying doesn't have a safe, stow valuables in the trunk of your car or a secured place in your room.
- Always keep your hotel room door locked. Use the peephole before answering the door. Never open the door for someone you do not know.
- Finally, trust your instincts. If a situation or your surroundings give you a sense of unease, you're probably correct. Be watchful and alert.
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