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From Travel to Shopping, Hernando Sheriff Offers Holiday Safety Tips

Police Tape | Caution | Safety

“Staying focused on personal safety is never more important than during the months of November and December,” according to Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis.

HERNANDO COUNTY – For many of us the holidays are a very busy and festive time of the year.

They are a time when we find ourselves shopping and decorating and even planning a joyful holiday gathering for friends and family. Criminals, unfortunately,know this all too well and are preparing just the same, Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis said.

“No one looks forward to the holidays more than criminals. Unfortunately, it is also a busy time for those businesses and organizations that respond to tragedy,” Nienhuis said.

“Please don’t let the holiday season distract you into becoming a victim of a crime or other tragedy. Staying focused on personal safety is never more important than during the months of November and December,” Nienhuis said.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis | Hernando Sheriff | Crime
Al Nienhuis

“If we all take a moment to follow these safety tips, the holidays will be merry and bright for everyone, except of course for the criminals in our community.”





Nienhuis offers these holiday travel and safety tips to help residents have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Hernando Sheriff | Safety Tips | Holidays


Travel Safety Tips
Vehicles should be in good working order before heading out
Remember to pack emergency supplies (blankets, water, snacks, flashlight, and a first aid kit)
Do not drink and drive and do not allow someone else to drink and drive
Wear a seatbelt every time you operate or ride in a motor vehicle
Always buckle children in a child safety seat, a booster seat or a seatbelt according to his/her height, weight, and age
Know where you are going and how to get there and back
Obtain or download a map
Carry a GPS
Check for construction detours
For longer trips, obtain a weather forecast
Inform a family member or friend where you will be and when you expect to return. Give them your route of travel if you know it
Travel and conduct business during daylight hours if possible
If you have a cellular phone, carry or take it (but do not use it while driving; this is unlawful in some states)
Keep doors locked while driving
Maintain at least 1/2 tank of fuel and keep the vehicle in good repair
The single most essential safety tip – devote your full attention to driving

Shopping Safety Tips
Shop with friends or relatives – there is safety in numbers
Remain alert in crowded places
Always supervise children, especially when going to the restroom
Small children should know their first and last name so they can tell a person of authority if they become lost
If a child becomes separated from you, have a predetermined plan where you will meet or what you will do (have them seek out a store clerk or a security guard). The child should NEVER go outside to look for you or wait by the car
If older children go to the mall (or other activities) without you, you should know where they are at all times and they should check in with you by phone, frequently – they should not go alone
Using a debit or credit card is much safer than carrying a lot of cash

Vehicle and Parking Lot Safety Tips
If possible, do not leave items (valuables) in plain view in your vehicle
If you must leave items in your vehicle, place them out of sight before you arrive at your destination
Lock the GPS, iPod, etc. in the glove compartment. Lock up the docking station(s) and the connector cables too
Do not leave loose change, briefcases, backpacks, gym bags, laptop computers, cell phones, day planners, etc. in vehicles as these items are some of the most commonly stolen in vehicle burglaries
Park in well-lit busy areas
Lock all doors every time you exit the vehicle
Set the alarm or the anti-theft device
Keep your keys in your hand and remain alert to your surroundings
Criminals do not like eye contact
Check the trunk (to be sure it is locked), the back seat and under the vehicle before you get in it
Do not clip or hang any identification tag to the rearview mirror – these can be targeted items for identity theft
Do not hide your key on your vehicle while you are shopping – take it with you
Never leave your engine running for any reason while you are away from the vehicle
Avoid placing your HOME address in your GPS in case it gets stolen – this allows the suspect to go to your home while you are still shopping

Banking and ATM Safety Tips
If there is anyone suspicious at or near the ATM, select another ATM
Use the “fisheye” mirror (if one is provided) to see what is going on behind you
If followed, call 911
Use the drive-up instead of going in to the bank branch
Protect your PIN number – do not carry it with you
Photocopy the front/back of your credit and debit cards and keep that information in a safe place. If they are lost or stolen you will have easy access to the information
Review bank and credit card statements promptly and report discrepancies

Home Safety Tips
Keep the doors and windows locked
If you receive large and or costly gifts (not just during the holidays) cut up the boxes and turn them inside out before placing them out at the curb for removal. You do not want to advertise that you just got a new 55-inch television
Set the alarm when not at home
Do not use voices and names of children on the answering machine – this allows predators the knowledge that children live in your home
If you are a female living alone, leave the generic outgoing message on the machine
Watch for the mail, thieves tend to look in mailboxes for checks and cash in Christmas cards
Mail outgoing mail at the post office to avoid having it stolen – never put outgoing mail in your mailbox overnight
Consider opening a post office box during the holiday season

Cooking Safety
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries. Follow these safety tips to avoid fire/injury:
Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area
Clean all cooking surfaces to prevent grease buildup
Remain in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn burners off when leaving the kitchen
Keep a pan lid or a baking sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches fire.
Place turkey fryers OUTSIDE and away from the house, the deck, an/or the garage

Health Safety Tips
Manage Stress
Balance work, home and play and get support from family and friends
Wash hands often
Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs
Stay warm
Cold temperatures can cause serious health issues, especially in infants and older adults.

For information about the Hernando sheriff, go to

Hernando Sheriff | Al Nienhuis | Holiday Safety | Crime | Crime Prevention | Tampabay News

#HernandoSheriff #AlNienhuis #HolidaySafety #Crime #CrimePrevention #TampabayNews

From Travel to Shopping, Hernando Sheriff Offers Holiday Safety Tips
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From Travel to Shopping, Hernando Sheriff Offers Holiday Safety Tips
"Staying focused on personal safety is never more important than during the months of November and December," according to Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis.
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