Tips to help you enjoy a worry-free vacation

Staff Sgt. Fatimat Bello, 509th Bomb Wing Ground Safety, takes safety precaution and sets a highway warning triangle to notify on-coming traffic Dec. 10 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Team Whiteman is encouraged to take precautions, travel with a safety kit and be prepared at all times in case an emergency arises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Heidi Hunt) (Released)

Staff Sgt. Fatimat Bello, 509th Bomb Wing Ground Safety, takes safety precaution and sets a highway warning triangle to notify on-coming traffic Dec. 10 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Team Whiteman is encouraged to take precautions, travel with a safety kit and be prepared at all times in case an emergency arises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Heidi Hunt) (Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Many wait all year to enjoy a little time off to spend with family or loved ones. While planning for a holiday vacation can be fun and exciting, nothing will ruin the Christmas spirit faster than becoming a victim of crime.

"A vacation is a good time for relaxation and fun, but do not leave your common sense at home," said Jerry Osban, 509th Security Forces Squadron Crime Prevention manager.

There are a few things to keep in mind while on vacation to help Team Whiteman enjoy a well-deserved break.

The 509th SFS Crime Prevention Resource Protection Office offers the following tips to consider when making travel plans:

 Before leaving your home, even for a few minutes, be extra cautious about locking doors and windows.
 Lock your car at all times and lock luggage and packages in the trunk.
 Contact your local post office to stop mail and suspend deliveries.
 Leave your key with a trusted neighbor, along with emergency contact numbers. Use timer lights when applicable. Use the Operation Quarters watch program.
 Stay alert to your surroundings and other peoples' actions.
 Always carry a minimum amount of cash; use traveler's checks when available.
 When driving, use main roads and use a map with the route marked
 Have your car serviced before leaving.
 If your car breaks down, turn on flashers and call or/wait for the police or the highway safety department.
 Never pick up hitchhikers or accept a ride from someone you are not familiar with.
 While staying at a hotel/motel, the first thing you should do is locate the fire exits, elevators and public phones. Plan an escape in case of fire or other emergency.
 Ensure you know who is at the door before you open it. If you are ever in doubt, contact the front desk or service center.
 Leave the television on when leaving your room to make it appear occupied. Report any suspicious activity to the management or security.
 Always take cash, credit cards, and keys with you when departing the room. Keep extra cash or valuables locked in the hotel/motel safe deposit box or in the room safe if one is provided.

"When traveling on vacation to unfamiliar towns, do your homework on unsafe neighborhoods or other areas you should avoid," said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Woods of the 509th SFS Police Services division. "Always be conscious of your surroundings.

Woods suggests remembering street signs, business names and the routes you take when exploring. Most importantly, if you feel something is not right, follow your instincts and take the necessary precautions.

"Vacationing during the holidays is a special time, and meant to build lasting memories," Woods said. "Safety is just as important, whether you are here or on vacation."

For more information, contact Jerry Osban in the 509th SFS Resource Protection/Crime Prevention office at 660-687-4482.

Quick Reference Numbers

· Emergency (Fire, Police, Ambulance)...........................911
· Law Enforcement Desk (Non-Emergency, 24-hours).......660-687-3700
· Pass & Registration.................................................660-687-1853
· Office of Special Investigations ..................................660-687-1852
· Knob Noster Police Department (Non-Emergency)..........660-563-2233
· La Monte Police Department (Non-Emergency)................660-827-0052
· Sedalia Police Department (Non-Emergency)....................660-826-8100
· Warrensburg Police Department (Non-Emergency)..........660-747-3322
· Johnson County Sheriff (Warrensburg).............................660-747-5511
· Missouri State Highway Patrol (Emergency)....1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cell
· Poison Control Center.................................................1-800-222-1222
· Statewide Weather & Road Conditions.............................1-800-222-6400
· Whiteman AFB Crime Prevention Program Manager....660-687-4482

(Editor's note: This is the final article of a three-part series highlighting the 509th Security Forces Squadron's Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention)