Take steps to protect your home

Published 12:01 am Friday, December 23, 2011

There are a multitude of safety issues surrounding the holidays – from would-be burglars to traffic accidents.

Throughout the county, officials are releasing information on how to protect you and yours this Christmas season.

In Andalusia, Lt. Paul Dean said residents should take steps to prohibit “temptation” of those looking to steal from one’s property.

“The key to not make yourself or your home an easy target,” Dean said. “It’s that time of the year when burglaries seem to be on the rise because people know that homes have new items inside. It’s ripe pickings for a burglar and thief.

“Keep your blinds drawn; doors locked; make sure outbuildings are properly secured,” he said. “And please, all those items you get for Christmas, or even the ones you have in the home already – please take the time to write down a serial number.

“It could mean the difference in, if your home is burglarized, if we recover and identify your stolen items,” he said.

Dean also said that if one arrives home to at the car to find a burglary in process, call the police immediately.

“And if you do catch someone in the act, call 911 – don’t give chase,” he said. “You never know what might happen. From there, it could escalate to a robbery or even an assault, and we don’t want that.”

And for those navigating the highways for the holiday period it begins today and continues through Mon., Jan. 2.

Chief Deputy David Anderson with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office said the department received a traffic overtime grant that will allow for extra patrols through the end of the year. Deputies, as well as Alabama State Troopers, will be targeting impaired drivers and speeders.

“With the large number of people on the roads, partaking in holiday festivities, safety is our No. 1 priority,” Anderson said. “It is important for motorists to realize that we will be out in full force and striving to keep our roads safe.

“An impaired driver behind the wheel is a crash waiting to happen,” he said. “We, like other law enforcement agencies around the state, are committed to preventing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving alcohol by identifying and removing those impaired drivers from the roadway.”

Anderson said motorists should be reminded about the importance of using seat belts, following all the traffic laws, and driving with care and caution.

“Distractions abound during the holiday season, so please remember to focus first and foremost on the driving task,” he said. “Your safety and that of your passengers and fellow motorists depend on it.”

Clay Ingram, the area AAA representative, said it’s forecasted that 91.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the 2011-12 Year-End holiday travel season – a 1.4 percent increase over the 90.7 million people who traveled one year ago.

“It’s a positive sign for the travel industry that so many Americans are planning to travel this holiday season, collectively contributing to the second-highest year-end holiday travel volume in the past 10 years,” Ingram said. “As our lives get busier, it is so important to create opportunities for the rest and rejuvenation that result from vacation travel and connecting with family and friends, especially during the holidays.”