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Crime Prevention Safety Tips: Family Vacation--Fun and Safety

Planning a family vacation?  Whether the destination is Disneyland, Denver, or Denmark, there are certain things to keep in mind. Making the trip fun and enjoyable for everyone is key.  But just as important to the success of your trip will be the steps you take to make it a safe one.

Before You Leave

Preventing crime during family travel starts with making sure your home is protected while you are away. The key is to make it look like you never left.

  • Mailbox with mailKeep shades and blinds in their normal positions.
  • Stop mail and newspapers, or ask a neighbor to pick them up every day.
  • Put timers on several household lights so they turn on and off at appropriate times.
  • Arrange to have the grass mowed while you're gone.
  • Make sure all of your door and window locks are in working order and make sure to use them. Activate your home alarm system (if you have one).
  • Contact your local police department and have them conduct vacation house checks while you are away. 
  • You might even leave a radio on, or put it on a timer.  Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway overnight--anything that might suggest someone is home.  And, do not forget to lock all doors and windows when you leave.

Packing For Prevention

Preparing for a family trip requires a lot of planning. You need to decide where you are going, where you will stay, and how you will get from one place to another. You also need to decide what to take with you.  Planning can decrease the chances of crime joining you on your journey.  Listed below are some some tips on what to take:

  • Clean out your wallet or purse before you go; take only essential credit cards. Plan to use credit cards or traveler's checks instead of cash whenever possible.
  • Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside front pocket. Better yet, take a "fanny pack" or wear a money pouch under your clothes.
  • Pack as lightly as possible. Lots of heavy, cumbersome bags will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to robbery.
  • Expensive, designer luggage can draw unneeded attention to your belongings. Pack your things in inconspicuous bags.
  • Keep a separate record of the contents of checked luggage, and keep anything of value such as medicine and jewelry in a carry-on that stays with you.

Out and About

Your home is secured and you are packed. Now it is time to go. While you and your family are traveling, it is important to remember that tourists make tempting targets for thieves.  Often lost or distracted, weighed down with bags, and carrying cameras, plane tickets, money and other valuables, unsuspecting travelers can attract crime like a magnet

  • The best advice for you and your family is to do all that you can to blend in with the crowd.
  • Do not display expensive jewelry, cameras, bags, and other items that might draw attention.
  • Check maps before you go out so you can tour confidently.
  • Stick to well-lighted, well traveled streets at all times--no shortcuts.
  • Always lock your car when it is parked, even if the stop is brief.  Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk.  Do not advertise that you are a tourist by leaving maps and guidebooks on the seat or dashboard--keep them in the glove compartment.
  • Traveling safely with your family also means sticking together and keeping an eye on your children at all times.  Make sure they know where you are staying (name and address) and teach them what to do if they get lost or separated. You might want to agree on a meeting place, just in case.  And by all means, make sure your kids know not to accept rides or favors from strangers. Make your family vacation a memorable one for all the right reasons.
Email the Crime Prevention Coordinator