In a few weeks, families and K-12 students will be jetting and driving out of West Michigan to enjoy spring break. Some may head south, some may head west, but regardless of where they go, safety needs to be a top concern.
“Spring break is one of the most popular times of the year for burglars to target homes and travelers,” East Grand Rapids Public Safety Capt. Brian Williams said. “By taking a few steps prior to leaving and while on vacation, travelers can hedge themselves and their homes against safety concerns.”
To help families prepare their homes for vacation, Williams has a number of tips including: 1. Do not advertise your vacation and out-of-town travels on social media. 2. Inform your neighbors that you are leaving, where you will be and when you will return. Provide them with your contact information as well as the resort or hotel. 3. Lock all of your doors and windows and set your lights and televisions on timers. 4. Stop all mail and newspaper deliveries or have a friend or family member gather them for you daily. 5. Consider shutting your water off to avoid returning to a flooded home. 6. Lock all of your valuables in a safe, including priority documents like wills, banking information, social security cards and passports.
In addition to preparing you’re home for travel, Capt. Williams also suggests the following when it comes to personal safety while you are on vacation:
7. Stay awake and alert when using public transportation.8. Keep the majority of your funds in travelers checks and hidden.9. Don't wear excess jewelry and carry only the essentials in your purse or wallet. 10. Be aware of pickpockets in a crowded situation – they often try to jostle the crowd to distract you. 11. Select a hotel room on the third to fifth floor – this will generally keep you out of reach of criminal activity, but still reachable by fire truck ladders. 12. Familiarize yourself with escape routes in case of fire or other catastrophe. 13. Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room.14. Place valuables in a hotel safe deposit box or room safe and never leave them unattended in your room – even in a locked suitcase. 15. Use the door chain or bolt lock whenever you are in your room and use the door viewer (peephole) before opening the door to visitors.