Be safe this holiday season with these tips from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

If you are traveling:

• When leaving town, have a trusted friend or neighbor take care of your home. Uncollected newspapers on the front porch can attract unwanted visitors;

• Know where you are going, and how to get there and back. Get a current weather forecast;

• Keep a cell phone with you and keep it charged in case of an emergency;

• Keep doors locked and windows rolled up. Always keep at least half a tank of fuel in the car;

• If you break down, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible and turn your emergency flashers on. Call 911 or a trustworthy source for assistance;

• Be alert to your surroundings.

At home:

• Make sure you secure your Christmas tree so children cannot pull it over;

• Avoid displaying holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway;

• Be vigilant about locking doors and windows when you leave the house;

• Use as much light as possible. Place floodlights or motion detectors near doorways, garages, windows and pathways, and do not forget the back of the house;

• Do not allow shrubbery to grow over windows, walkways or doorways. It may conceal criminals trying to break into your home;

• Record all of your valuables, including serial numbers. This may also include photographing and videotaping.

• Never allow strangers in your home. Do not let telephone callers know you are home alone, or that your house is empty at certain times;

• Report suspicious people or vehicles in your neighborhood to the proper authorities;

• Do not keep large amounts of cash in your house.

In the neighborhood:

• Establish a network with your neighbors and make a plan for mutual protection and notification;

• Get your Neighborhood Watch group together at Christmas. It’s a great time to interact and meet those new to the neighborhood;

• If you are not part of a Neighborhood Watch program and you and your neighbors wish to participate, contact the Pima County Sheriff’s Department at 351-4685.

Shopping safety:

• Be aware of your environment and park in well-lit areas;

• Keep purchases out of sight or in the trunk of your vehicle;

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible;

• Never leave packages unattended;

• Never overburden yourself with packages;

• Keep a close eye on your children while shopping. Teach your children that if they become separated from you in the store or mall, to stay in one place and call out their mother or father’s first and last name. Tell your children not to wander, as this can make finding them more difficult.

Holidays mean getting together with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations usually involve a lot of good food, as well as alcohol. Designate a sober driver before you travel, the department said. It plans to be out in full force this holiday season “to make your holiday as safe as possible. Drink responsibly, and do not drive if you have been drinking,” the release concluded.

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