1. For emergency aid of any kind, call 911 from any phone. In your hotel, you may need to dial 9-911.
2. Upon arrival, get your bearings. Note the locations of well-traveled, well-lit areas where you could get help, if necessary.
3. Stay alert. Trust your instincts. Enjoy our area in pairs or groups if possible.
4. Pay attention when walking through parking lots. Avoid suspicious characters or areas with no lights. Travel with a companion in the evening.
5. In the unlikely event you are confronted by an assailant, don't resist if demands are made for valuables. Such actions create a greater danger.
6. Always carry wallets, purses, room and car keys securely. Keep your room key in a safe place on your person when at the hotel pool, bar or dining room. Keep track of personal items such as travel tickets, cameras etc.
7. Carry a minimum amount of cash. Use travelers checks and credit cards. Record their numbers and keep in a separate, safe place. Keep extra cash and valuables locked in a hotel safety deposit box or room safe. Only take necessary valuables while traveling.
8. Always lock your vehicle when it's parked and when you're traveling in it. Keep valuables out of sight at all times. Lock them in the trunk, glove box or luggage compartment.
9. Be observant. Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement, security officers or hotel/business managers.
10. Don't advertise your plans to strangers. Be wary of solicitors.
11. Use a map to plan your route before you venture out. Stick to main roads. If you miss a turn or exit, proceed to the next corner or exit. Never back up. Always pull completely off the road if you must stop. If you're uncomfortable about traveling to or through a particular neighborhood, inquire at your hotel front desk for safety pointers.
12. Make sure children know the name and address of where you are staying. Remind children of places they can go to for help if they become separated from you.
13. Always lock your front and/or patio doors and windows, both while you are in your room and when you leave. Use the safety chain for security. Never open your room door unless you know who is there. If you did not call for hotel service offered by the person at the door, call hotel security or front desk to see if they have sent someone to your room.
Florida Law requires safety belts for all front seat occupants, and use is recommended for all passengers. Children three years old or under are required to be in a safety seat, and it is recommended for children aged four and five. Children should always be secured with at least a seat belt.
Florida Law requires drivers to turn on headlights at dusk, in a fog or in rain. Be especially careful while driving during or after rainfall -- slippery road conditions can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
If you plan to drink, take along a designated driver who will remain alcohol-free. Under the Florida DUI Law, if you are caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08% or higher, your license will be suspended immediately for a period of six months for a first offense. Refusal to submit to a blood/breath/urine test may result in the suspension of your driver's license for one year for a first offense.
Remember, regardless of where you travel, crime never takes a vacation!
If the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office can be of any assistance during your stay, please contact us at the following telephone numbers: