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Happy Holidays

Date: 12/01/2013

This is my favorite time of year - an opportunity to give thanks for our many blessings, to spend time with our families, to reach out to those in need, and to truly appreciate all that we have been given.

As the year comes to a close, I can't help but look back and reflect on all that has happened - doing so with appreciation for the friendship, support and suggestions of so many of you.

The holiday season gives us time to spend with friends and family, and offers an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for all of the blessings in our lives. We can all be thankful for this great nation we live in and for the brave military men and women who are away from their loved ones over the holidays protecting our freedom. Their sacrifice ensures the freedoms that we enjoy today. 

With that said, it's important to keep in mind there are many folks who aren't as fortunate. Whether suffering from economic hardship or being separated from their family and loved ones, like our thousands of men and women in uniform and our civilian public servants abroad, all of them shall be in our thoughts and prayers.

Too often, opportunistic criminals prey on holiday shoppers. While you are out making your purchases, stay alert. Remember to park your car in a well-lit area and secure valuables inside your trunk or take them with you. When you return to your vehicle, have your keys in hand so that you can quickly unlock the door and get in. You should never carry large amounts of money and if you go to an ATM for cash, do so during daytime hours in a safe location.

With the number of vehicles on our roadways and in crowded parking lots, it is important to practice patience. Speeding, distractions and alcohol contribute to the increased number of accidents this time of year. If you are attending a holiday celebration and plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver. The Marion County Sheriff's Office has a ZERO tolerance policy for drunk drivers and will be out in force to ensure all of our citizens and visitors on our roadways are safe.

I would like to share the following reminders with you to ensure you and your family stay safe during the holiday season:

  • Never leave gift packages or personal items such as cell phones, cameras, iPods, etc. in plain view in a vehicle.
  • It may be a good idea to leave a radio on and/or car in the driveway when you leave for work or go away for the weekend.
  • Be aware of suspicious people knocking on doors selling things or suspicious people driving slowly around neighborhoods. This may be a way for criminals to case houses, to see if anyone is home and/or see if packages are left on the front doorstep.
  • Watch out for suspicious people following delivery drivers and postal workers. Criminals often follow and steal the delivered packages left on the doorsteps.
  • When shopping, don't put packages in plain view in your vehicle then go back in to shop. When buying large electronics, criminals often lurk in store parking lots and follow the customer to another shopping location or to their residence, where they attempt to steal the item from the vehicle.
  • Secure your doors, windows, garage, storage sheds and gates. While you are away, have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers. 

I wish you and your family a blessed holiday season.  If I can ever be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact the Marion County Sheriff's Office anytime at (205) 921-7433.



Sheriff Kevin Williams