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MBV Summer Safety Tips

Summer is a time of year that many families go on vacation. Being on vacation can lead to crime victimization if appropriate crime prevention measures are not followed. Most families do not think about being victimized while on vacation because of all the excitement of going on vacation. The following crime prevention tips are designed to allow the vacationer to enjoy a safe and secure trip and to return to a secure residence.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, – “Household property crimes exhibited a pattern of seasonal fluctuations from 1993 to 2010. The most common pattern for household property crimes was that victimization occurred at higher rates during the summer than during other seasons.”

Home Safety Tips
• Be aware of what’s happening in the neighborhood regarding home and vehicle burglaries near your home. Share information about suspicious activity in your neighborhood via the Mills Branch Village website at: http://millsbranchvillage.com/
• Lock your doors, including the garage door. Unlocked doors are open invitations to intruders.
• Ask a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor to keep a watchful eye on your home or have your mail held at the local post office until your return.
• Put lights on timers to give the impression that someone is home.
• Don’t post on social media that you are leaving town, and wait post photos after you return from your trip.
• Make sure all the locks on the doors and windows function properly and use them.
• Make sure your residence looks lived in and not empty.
• Leave the shades and blinds on doors and windows in a position that you would normally have them.
• Ask trusted neighbors to keep an eye on your residence while you are away. Leave your vacation address and telephone number with the neighbor so you can be reached in an emergency.
• Make sure your smoke and burglar alarms are functioning properly and armed.
• Arrange for a neighbor to pick up your deliveries: mail, newspaper, and any other packages.
• Arrange for someone to maintain your yard so your home appears occupied.
• Have someone place your garbage cans at the curb for normal pickup and put them away after the pickup has been made.
• Make sure you have timers for lights, television, or radios so they turn on and off at the appropriate times.
• Turn the ringer on the telephone down low or off. A possible intruder will not be alerted to your absence by a ringing telephone. If you can, forward your calls to your cellular phone or a trusted individual.
• Leave a normal message on your answering machine; do not announce your absence on the answering machine.
• Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway while you are gone. Seeing their car come and go will help make it appear that someone is home. If you leave your car at home, park as you normally would.
• Consider taking valuables that you cannot live without to a safety deposit box.
Vacation Tips
• Lock your room and remember not to give out your room number or invite strangers into your hotel room.
• Be friendly but be vigilant. Watch for and report any suspicious behavior.
• Plan your route – stay within well-traveled routes and walk in groups. There’s safety in numbers.
• Keep your belongings secure - Purses should be securely closed, backpacks are zipped, and wallets are kept in your front pocket. When dining in restaurants do not hang your purse or backpack on the back of your chair.
• Fill out a vacation watch form at http://millsbranchvillage.com, and our officers will keep a watch on your home while you are away.
• Place all your luggage in your room; do not leave anything in your vehicle.
• Do not leave valuables in your room when you are not there; take them with you.
• Keep a daily check of all your belongings.
• Place extra cash, jewelry, or valuables in a hotel/motel safe.
• Use the door viewer to identify anyone requesting entry into your room. Do not open the door if you do not believe the person has a legitimate reason for being in your room.
• Unpack your luggage. Arrange all your belongings so that you will notice if anything is missing.
Tips for Parents
• Be proactive – make a backup plan in case the group gets separated during a family outing and have a scheduled meeting place and time.
• If your child or teen will be alone a significant amount of time, have him/her check in with you if they plan to leave the house and when they arrive back home.
• Monitor Internet and social media activity to establish children and teens are visiting appropriate sites and following guidelines.
Car / Travel Safety Tips
• Always lock your doors and roll up your windows when you leave your car.
• Do not leave valuables in the car. If you must leave prized possessions in your vehicle keep them out of sight or hidden in the trunk.
• Before you get into your car, check the backseat and around the car. Lock your doors once inside the car.
• Park in well-lighted areas.
• Try not to advertise that you are a tourist.
• Try not to carry large amounts of cash; use Credit/ATM/Debit cards. If you must carry large sums of money, do not openly display it.
• Do not carry more credit cards than you will need. Keep a list of all credit card numbers in a safe place. Have telephone numbers to call if either are lost or stolen.
• Never advertise your plans to strangers; this includes travel routes and the amount of cash you are carrying.
• If you suspect that someone is following you, drive to the nearest well-populated place and call 911 or use your cellular phone for emergency assistance.
• Do not leave any tickets (airline, train, bus) in open view. They are as valuable as cash.
• Males are advised to carry wallets in an inside pocket or the front pocket of their pants. Females should carry their purses under their arm with a firm grasp.
• Mark your luggage so it is easily identified. Take pictures of your luggage so airline personnel can identify it if it is lost.
• Be sure your luggage is locked and labeled with your name and telephone number. Someone can call you if your luggage is found. If you have a business address, label it on the luggage for a return address.
These prevention tips are simple steps to avoiding summertime crime. If you would like more information, please visit www.ncpc.org.
Houston Police provide stats and helpful information on their web site, http://www.houstontx.gov/police/
April 20, 2021

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