Vacation is a time for fun and relaxation. Don't let yours be ruined by crime.
Before Leaving, Secure Your Home – Have good locks on all doors and windows, and use them. Engrave your valuables with your CA Driver's License Number (preceded by "CA"). Never leave your house key hidden outside under a doormat, in a flower pot, or on the ledge of a door. Make your house appear "lived in." Use timers for lights and radios. Have a neighbor or friend pick up mail, packages and newspapers, and keep the lawns mowed and watered. Have a neighbor park their car in your driveway on occasion. Leave your trip plans and an emergency phone number with trusted neighbors or friends.
On The Road – Never carry large amounts of cash; use traveler's checks. If you must carry large sums of money, do not display it openly. Keep a record of traveler's check numbers and your credit card numbers in a safe place. Have the telephone numbers to call in case your checks or credit cards are lost or stolen. Be aware of your surroundings and never advertise your plans to strangers; this includes travel routes and the amount of cash your are carrying. Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest phone booth, or use your cellular phone to call for assistance. If you suspect someone is following you, drive to the nearest service station, restaurant or business and call the police. If you believe it is unsafe to get out of your car, honk your horn to attract attention. If your car breaks down, raise the hood and attach a white cloth to the car 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 tow truck to assist you. If you must abandon your car, keep all passengers together.
Car Security – Always lock your car when entering or leaving it. Park in well-lighted, busy areas. Check the back seat before getting into your car. Mark your car radio and other removable car equipment with your CA Driver's License Number (preceded by "CA") for identification. 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 box or out-of-sight.
Sightseeing – Remember, planning reduces your chances of becoming a victim of a crime. Ask for directions at a hotel/motel on how to get to those attractions you want to visit. Select tour guides carefully. Ask if there are any areas in town you should avoid. Stick to well-lighted main streets and public areas. Looking lost (stopping and looking at addresses or staring at street signs) may make you look like an easy target for crime. If you do get lost, find an open business and ask for directions. Only carry with you the cash you will need, and only small denominations. If older children go off separately, be sure they understand the importance of keeping track of time and returning promptly at appointed hours.
Hotel and Motel Security – When staying overnight at a hotel or motel, remember the following: 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.) Use the door viewer to identify anyone requesting entry. Open the door only if you are certain the person has a legitimate reason to enter your room. If in doubt, call the hotel/motel office. Unpack and place belongings in the closet dresser. Arrange your things so you will know if anything is missing. Consider locking any electrical appliances (blow dryers, electric shavers, etc.) in your luggage. (Suitcases should always be kept locked so they can't be used to carry your property out of your room.) Never leave money, checks, credit cards or car keys in the room. Take them with you. Place extra cash, expensive jewelry or other valuables (furs, gems, gold, or silver) 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.
REMEMBER—THE ONLY WAY TO STOP CRIME IS TO GET INVOLVED IN CRIME PREVENTION.