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How to have a safe and happy holiday

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Tips for a worry-free Turkey Day

By Special to the Monitor

The National Crime Prevention Council, the organization best known for its icon, McGruff the Crime Dog, says Thanksgiving Day starts the holiday season where we need to remember to protect ourselves, family and home when  traveling or staying close to home with our loved ones.  

NCPC suggests following these safety tips to avoid problems during your travels or while at home enjoying a feast with family and friends.

In planning safe travels:

• Make sure your house appears “lived-in” when you are away.  Lock all doors and windows, set household lights (inside and out) on timers.

• Trim your hedges and bushes so thieves cannot have a place to hide out.

• Have a neighbor park a car in your driveway to make it appear as if someone is home, and pick up your mail and newspapers while you are away.  

• Invest in an alarm.  An alarm system controls access points to your home and lets you know if someone has invaded your space.

• File a “travel plan.” Let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take and when you plan to arrive. If you deviate from that plan, let someone know.

When on the road traveling

• Do not stop if your car is bumped from behind or if someone says there is something wrong with your car. Go to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area and call for help.

• Never leave items of value such as car phones, cameras, jewelry or other expensive belongings visible in your car.  Lock them in your trunk or take them with you.

• Fill the gas tank before dark and lock your car doors, roll up your windows if you step away from the car for any reason.

Safety away from home

• Carry money separately from credit cards. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.

• Stick to well-lighted and well-traveled streets at all times.

• Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.

• Do not leave valuables in your hotel room. Most hotels have safes for guest use.

• Keep your hotel room door locked, even when you are inside.

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a private, nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to be the nation’s leader in helping people keep themselves, their families and their communities safe from crime. NCPC manages public service advertising under the National Citizens’ Crime Prevention Campaign — symbolized by McGruff the Crime Dog and his “Take A Bite Out Of Crime” slogan — and acts as secretariat for the Crime Prevention Coalition of America, more than 400 national, federal, state and local organizations representing thousands of constituents who are committed to preventing crime. NCPC is funded through a variety of government agencies, corporate and private foundations and donations from private individuals.

For more information on crime prevention issues, visit www.ncpc.org.