December 06, 2012
Connie Tillman

SAFETY NET: Prepare for Safe Christmas Travel

You may find it surprising, but Winter Break is less than two weeks away. As we begin to transition from school to break time and the holiday season, let's continue to be aware that not everyone is in the giving spirit during this time. There are a few who believe, "It's better to take than to receive."

There are three elements needed for the successful commission of a crime: ability, desire and opportunity. Most of us will never have an opportunity to control an individual's ability and desire to commit crimes. But in most cases, we have control over their opportunity to be successful.

Here are a few tips to make you a less desirable target for the opportunistic individual:

Travel with a friend.

Better yet, travel in a group. It's a great way to bond with your friends, and there is strength in numbers.

Let someone know your itinerary.

Before you leave on a trip, let someone know your intended route. If you get stranded, someone will know the path you took.

Are you prepared to travel?

  • Is your cell phone properly charged?
  • Do you have a car charger for your cell phone?
  • When traveling long distances bring some food and water with you.
  • If you are traveling to an area where snow or ice are expected, have a blanket, dry clothing, ice melt and a shovel in case you become stranded.

Is your vehicle ready for winter?

Should you decide to travel by vehicle, make sure it's reliable. Check for properly maintained battery, belts, hoses and fluid levels.

  • Is your battery able to start your car consistently in cold weather?
  • Are the fluid levels adequate for temperature changes?
  • When was the last time your radiator fluid was checked?
  • How often do you replace your fan belts and hoses?

Those small details can really matter when you are miles from home, work or school.

Don't advertise any property in your car. Even visible loose change is an enticement for someone to steal. Once you get to your destination, remove items from your car and take them inside.

  • Don't take it for granted that your property is safe sitting on the seat of your locked car, even for a few minutes. It only takes seconds to break the window or defeat the locks and steal your possessions.
  • Some thieves watch parking lots just to target vehicles whose owners have stored their purchases in the vehicle and then return to shopping. If you purchase something at a store and place it in your trunk, but are not finished shopping, it's a good idea to move your vehicle to another part of the parking lot.

DPSSS provides vehicle and walking escorts.

If you feel uncomfortable walking on campus for any reason, call DPSEP at 314-SLU-RIDE.

Program the DPSEP emergency number, 314-977-3000, along with 911 into your phone.

Having the number handy at all times can help you keep your head during emergency situations.

Don't give individuals the opportunity to take your belongings. Remember that the most important weapon you have is control over opportunity. Take control of your property and surroundings, and help law enforcement by sending a message that you refuse to become a victim of an opportunist.

On behalf of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, we wish you a safe and blessed Holiday Season.


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