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Sheriff launches Project Safe Holiday 2013

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The Denton County Sheriff’s Office will step up patrols in and around shopping and residential areas throughout Denton County this holiday season, according to Sheriff Will Travis.

“Keep in mind that while you are doing your shopping so are the criminals. The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time, but not everyone ends up having the holiday they planned,” said Travis.

“Be mindful of your surroundings and please lock your doors. Crimes such as robberies, burglaries, and thefts typically increase slightly during the holiday season, as do arrests for Driving Under the Influence.”

Travis said his goal is to make the holiday as safe as possible for everyone and offered the following tips to help residents have a happy and safe holiday season. 

At Home:

•    Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.  Make sure your garage door is closed at all times.
•    When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.  Don’t leave evidence of your absence; it’s an open invitation to burglars.
•    Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
•    Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
•    Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.

Driving and Shopping:

•    Avoid driving alone at night.
•    Travel well-lit and busy streets.
•    On public transportation, sit as close to the driver as possible.
•    Keep all car doors locked and windows closed.
•    If you must be out at night, and have to park away from home, park in a well-lighted area.
•    Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
•    Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
•    Never leave your car with the motor running or with children inside.
•    Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
•    Be sure to have your keys in your hand prior to going to your car.
•    Hold on to your purse, handbag and parcels. Never put anything down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
a.    Purses, hand or shoulder bags, should be kept as close to the body as possible.
b.    Do not dangle purses or bags by the straps.
c.    Never leave your purse unattended.
d.    Don’t leave your purse on the seat beside you; put it on the floor, where it is more difficult for someone to grab it.
e.    Keep wallets out of sight.
f.    Don’t display large sums of cash.
•    Always be aware of your surroundings.
•    If there are suspicious people in the area, do not approach your car alone.  Ask security for an escort to your car.

Walking:

•    Always plan your route, and stay alert to your surroundings. Walk confidently.
•    Have someone with you. Stay away from buildings and doorways; walk in well-lighted areas.
•    Have your key ready when approaching your front door.
•    Don’t dangle your purse away from your body.  (Twelve percent of all crimes are purse snatchings and street robberies.
•    Don’t carry large, bulky shoulder bags; carry only what you need.  Better yet, sew a small pocket inside your jacket or coat.  If you don’t have a purse, no one will try to snatch it.

Winter Vehicle Preparation:

•    Prepare your car for the winter by checking items such as the brakes, spark plugs, battery, and tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended interval for a tune-up.
•    Be prepared for emergency situations on the road by having a winter “survival kit” in the vehicle including items such as, a working flashlight, extra batteries, reflective triangles, compass, first aid kit, exterior windshield cleaner, ice scraper, snow brush, wooden stick matches in a waterproof container, and non-perishable, high energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

Hosting a Party:

•    Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
•    Arrange alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
•    Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.

Attending a Party:

•    Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
•    Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
•    Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
•    Never drink and drive.

After the Holiday:

•    Don’t leave TV or electronics boxes outside your house for trash pickup after Christmas.

Contact the Denton County Sheriff’s Office at 940-349-1600.

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