Keep your Christmas both merry and safe

Keep your Christmas both merry and safe Rural Crime Watch

We’re inundated with that message on the tube, radio, cyberspace and in our last column, yet we seem to still get drunks behind the wheel, more so during the holidays. How can we make this a historical year; no alcohol related vehicular accidents?

Of course the obvious answer is, “Take responsibility for your behavior”, but common sense is not always so common.

Teens know the cost of combining alcohol and driving from the excellent community PARTY-Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth program-www.partyprogram.org and the recent MADD junior high presentation. Let’s be sure adults follow our youths’ smart lead.

What other threats lurk and how can we prevent them from dampening our Christmas?

Candles should be placed on a flat surface away from drapes, trees or flammables and don’t leave them unattended or available for the cat to knock over. Extinguish them at night or when leaving your house. Watch children around any flame or fireplace. That gas unit with metal sides and dancing flames is a magnet to tiny hands.

Wood fireplaces/heaters? Make sure the flue is open with a clean chimney. Firefighters would like the holiday too and your insurance company doesn’t want the paper work. Seriously. Make sure there aren’t decorations near any candle or fireplace and don’t burn gift wrappings in the fireplace.

Ah, the Christmas tree. Ruralists are drawn to the bush for their own tree, making it a family outing..hot chocolate..cutting the tree. Getting stuck in the snow….hauling it on top of the car….watching it blow off the car into oncoming traffic. If it’s in your Christmas budget, consider purchasing a farmed tree from any number of venders. Or an artificial tree that can be used till you die, willed to your kids, and then their kids.

Not everyone wants you to have a great Christmas. Santa’s sleigh looks fabulous with gifts piled high for all to see. That pile is irresistible to creeps who count on Christmas to fill their stockings with your goodies. Santa says not to copy him with gifts piled high in your vehicle. Put all your gifts in the trunk or the back seat of your pick-up so you’re not inviting low lifes.

Make sure your wallet is protected and not in your rear pocket, guys. And ladies, your handbag’s strap shouldn’t be around your neck. A thief will take you to the ground using the strap. He will still have your purse and you could be injured from the fall. Place it over one shoulder with the accompanying hand on the purse itself. And please, stay in condition Yellow-be alert, be aware of your surroundings-when shopping so you’re not viewed by thieves as a victim.

Kids will scramble after gift displays and assorted shiny objects. Shop with friends and keep an eye on each others’ kids. This is a favorite time for pedophiles.

When traveling, even into town, let someone know where you are and when you plan to return. It is winter. Retired Ontario Provincial Police Inspector Andrew Maksymchuk recalls a Christmas Eve patrol with temperatures below freezing where he took the road less traveled while on patrol. He came upon a stranded family who had waited and prayed for two hours to be rescued. One of the children asked, “Are you our Angel? Daddy said that if we prayed, God would send an angel to help us.” Maksymchuk was choked and speechless so Dad offered, “Yes, policemen are God’s angels.”

Rural Crime Watch wishes you all the best for the holidays and the New Year and welcomes your input at www.ruralcrimewatch.com and Facebook.

By Jonathan McCormick and Denny Fahrentholz