Nov. 18--Gradually, Thanksgiving is being swallowed by the holiday shopping craziness of Black Friday that pretty much doesn't end until late December, for some early January.
For the next several weeks of this holiday season, many people go into overdrive of festivity planning, shopping and other events or activities. The risk to theft and injury are increased during this time of year.
About 43.6 million people will be traveling this Thanksgiving holiday with 90 percent of travelers choosing to go by automobile, according to AAA. This is a projected increase and will mark the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office discussed the holiday season and the risks for this very busy time of year.
"It is a time when we find ourselves shopping and decorating and even planning a joyful holiday gathering for friends and family," said Nienhuis. "Criminals, unfortunately, know this all too well and are preparing just the same."
The men and women at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office work diligently, every day of the year, in an effort to provide a safe environment for the citizens of Hernando County, he added.
An estimated 51 percent of holiday shoppers in the southern states, including Florida have already begun buying gifts this year, compared to 46 percent in 2012, according to AAA's Consumer Pulse survey. Additionally, 43 percent plan on buying more gifts on sale and 36 percent plan on conducting more research to find the best price.
"Many times criminal acts can be prevented if we all do our part, and just follow a few of these common sense safety tips and precautions," said Nienhuis. "The entire Hernando County Sheriff's Office family and I want you and your family to enjoy this holiday season."
Denise Moloney, public information officer for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, mentioned the risk of theft when purchases can be seen in a locked vehicle. "Leaving items in plain view (inside a vehicle) can be tempting for a would-be criminal."
She described how shoppers should lock items in the trunk before arriving at their destination or place them out of sight if possible.
"After Christmas is another time when criminals are on high alert," she added, "When you are placing boxes at the curb for the garbage collectors, be sure to cut up the boxes and place them inside-out, so passers-by are unable to see what was originally in them. You really don't want to advertise that your family has a new 55-inch Sanyo TV and a new Sony computer and a new Wii, etc. Cut the boxes up or take them to the dump."
The following tips have been provided by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office for holiday health and safety to help the community have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Do not drink and drive and do not allow someone else to drink and drive.
Wear a seat belt every time you operate or ride in a motor vehicle. Always buckle children in a child safety seat, a booster seat or a seat belt according to their 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.
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