A Sheriff’s Deputy Talks About Holiday Safety

By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

I recently had an opportunity to meet with Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy McKee as he discussed holiday safety awareness for a local community in The Woodlands.

A sixteen-year veteran of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; he has seen his share of criminal activity, and each year he sees an increase in criminal behavior around the holidays.

He began his talk with a discussion on shopping.  For many, the holidays mean shopping.  Presents to buy for family and friends; plus, the stuff you buy for yourself. 

Whether you make a visit to the local shopping mall, a community strip center or visit a mega mall in the bid city; be alert.  Do not park in a dark area if your visit is at night.  If you see a security camera in the lot or near a building wall; park in view of that camera.  Do not leave anything in the car that might tempt someone to break into your vehicle.  Lock it up in the trunk before you get to the mall.  And if you make a trip to the car with packages and plan to return to the store; relocate your vehicle to prevent prying eyes from seeing you load up the trunk and walk away.

This time of year, many of you will travel.  Whether your travels take you across town or across country; make sure your vehicle is maintained and prepared for the trip.  Tire tread and pressure, oil and filter, windshield washer fluid, emergency medical kit, etc.  Let someone know when you are leaving, your route of travel, your expected stops and your estimated time of arrival.   Then check in with them during your drive to let them know your progress.   And don’t forget to set you home security alarm system, tell a trusted neighbor that you’ll be gone and sign up for vacation watch with the Sheriff’s Office. 

On a side note:  DO NOT post your travel plans or vacation destination on social media – you’re just advertising that no one is home!

On the topic of holiday safety at home; be mindful that it’s not just criminal activity that can put your family at risk. 

A dried-out Christmas tree with incandescent lights that get hot can ignite a fire.  Remember to keep your tree base wet.  Use new LED lighting and don’t exceed the electrical outlet plug capacity.  With the cooler weather, the fireplace will get used; make sure the chimney is clear of animals and debris before you strike that match. 

Also, DO NOT put space heaters near any flammable material (curtains, bed spread or carpet).  And one final thought – replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and test them.  Do everything you can to prevent a fire; but make sure if a fire ignites, you want a warning.

While not specifically holiday related; Deputy McKee commented on personal safety while out and about.  Keep your phone in your purse or pocket to prevent being districted and seen as an unaware target.  Also, be wary of public restrooms that are tucked away from pedestrian traffic in a dark corner.  Best to have someone accompany you if you’re not sure of your security.

It’s the holidays.  Be joyful, share the holiday spirit.  But keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. 

And remember; the holidays mean time off.  Spend some with the family; but spend some at the range.  You deserve it; it’s been an interesting year and letting out some steam shooting images of bad guys is just the relaxation you need to prepare for the new year.

See you at Saddle River Range soon.

Stay Safe and Stay Alert,



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