Sheriff Gentry shares vital holiday safety tips

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(Tribune File Photo)

As the festive season is in full swing, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry emphasized the importance of caution during this joyous time. “Unfortunately, the holiday season often does see an increase in thefts and burglaries,” he said.

Regarding home safety, Gentry was adamant about the basics, saying, “Keep your doors and windows locked at all times.” For those planning to travel, he suggested enlisting the help of neighbors or family members to periodically check on the residence and collect any mail.

The sheriff also touched on digital age dangers, cautioning against sharing travel plans on social platforms. “Real-time social media posts allow criminals to track movements,” he said.

In addition, Gentry advised homeowners to employ automatic timers for lights and turn on radios or TVs to simulate occupancy. He highlighted the importance of discretion during the festive season.

“Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home,” he added. On the topic of discarded packaging, Gentry was clear, “Don’t let your trash lead to a burglary. If there’s a box for a 75-inch TV sitting on the curb, potential thieves can deduce there’s a 75-inch TV inside.”

When it comes to unexpected visitors, Gentry advised a cautious approach, especially with those claiming to be delivering packages or gifts. “Never open the door if you are uncertain,” he firmly stated, encouraging residents to reach out to law enforcement if they feel uneasy or are skeptical of door-to-door solicitors.

For those braving the shopping crowds, Gentry shared a slew of advice. Keeping vehicle doors and windows locked, even when inside, is paramount. If shopping after sunset, he recommended parking in well-lit areas and being mindful of neighboring vehicles, particularly those with dark-tinted windows.

“Always be aware of your surroundings,” Gentry stressed. In situations that raise suspicions, he advocated seeking assistance, saying, “Ask for a security or store personnel escort.”

Gentry imparted a significant final reminder saying, “If someone attempts to steal from you, remember, your life is way more valuable than any items may be. In the event of a theft or an attempted one, call 911 immediately. Our deputies and investigators are ready to assist.”

Residents are urged to take these guidelines to heart, ensuring a safe and peaceful holiday season for all.

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