Vacation Crime Prevention

Before leaving, SECURE your residence!mcgruff vacation

Vacation is a time for fun and enjoyment . You can make each trip more enjoyable and carefree if you take a few simple steps to reduce the possibility that your house will be burglarized or vandalized while you are gone. A vacant house, or one that appears to be unoccupied, is an appealing target for a burglar.

  • Make sure all locks on the doors and windows function properly and use them.
  • Give your house a lived-in appearance. Put automatic timers on several lights, a radio, and a television. Set the timers so that the lights and appliances will turn on and off at random times.
  • Leave shades and blinds in a position that you would normally leave them.
  • Arrange for a neighbor to pick up mail, newspapers, and any other packages. Ask your neighbor to use your driveway and garbage cans while you are away.
  • Make sure smoke and burglar alarms function properly and are armed.
  • Turn the ringer on your telephone down low or off and do not leave your lights on 24 hours a day.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to watch over your property while you are gone and leave emergency contact information with them.
  • Leave a normal message on your answering machine and avoid discussing your vacation plans in public.
  • Contact the Columbia Police Department at (573) 442-6131 or (573) 874-7652 and request a vacation “Watch in Passing”. Officers will be made aware that you are not home and will drive by the area more frequently.
  • Create an inventory of your property.

While on the road

  • Never carry large amounts of cash; use traveler’s checks.
  • Keep a record of your traveler’s check numbers and your credit card numbers in a safe place.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and never advertise your plans to strangers.
  • Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, flares, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit.
  • Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest phone booth and call for assistance.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood and attach a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, it is advisable that you stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police or a garage. If you must abandon your car, keep all passengers together.

Car Security

  • Always lock your car when entering or leaving it.
  • Always lock valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. Always carry wallets, checkbooks and purses with you.
  • Do not advertise that you are a tourist. Place maps and travel brochures in the glove compartment.
  • Park in well-lighted, busy areas.
  • Check the back seat before getting into your car.

Motel & Hotel Security

  • Determine the most direct route to and from your room, to the fire escapes, elevators, and nearest phone.
  • When occupying or leaving your room, use all auxiliary locking devices on doors and windows. (You may want to purchase a portable door lock for traveling.)
  • Unpack and place belongings in the closet and dresser. Arrange your things so you’ll know if anything is missing.
  • Never leave money, checks, credit cards or car keys in the room. Take them with you.
  • Place extra cash, expensive jewelry or other valuables in the hotel/motel safe.
  • Report any lost or stolen items to the hotel/motel management and to the police.
  • Report to the management any suspicious movements in the corridors or rooms.

Keep This Important List of Numbers With You on Your Vacation

Vehicle make/model ______________________________________________

Vehicle I.D. # ____________________________________________________

Auto Tag # ______________________________________________________

Driver’s License # ________________________________________________

Credit Cards

Company _______________________________________________________

Number to call if lost/stolen _________________________________________

Traveler’s Check

Numbers _______________________________________________________

If lost, call _______________________________________________________

Other Useful Numbers

Home Physician __________________________________________________

Relative or _______________________________________________________

Insurance Co. ____________________________________________________

Prescription numbers ______________________________________________