COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Spring Break is just around the corner for many students in the Chattahoochee Valley.
While packing bags and planning trips are what most people look forward to, students are also advised to keep some safety tips in mind as they get ready to enjoy their spring break.
"The world we live in today is not the world we lived in many years ago," explained Major Randy Robertson with Muscogeee County Sheriff's Office. "There are lot of distractions and people out there, and criminals can take advantage of us more than they ever did."
For those who will be leaving town on their spring break, Major Robertson said people need to travel in groups. There is power in numbers, and it can help prevent tragic incidents.
"I encourage teenagers and even adults to travel in groups," Major Robertson said. "Do not travel as an individual, if you can help it. When you use public bathrooms, go to restaurants or use an ATM machine, you should have friends with you for safety reasons. Be aware of your surroundings. Scan your area before you do anything."
Students are strongly encouraged to call their families to let them know about their destination. They need to call them at least twice a day to let parents to know how they are doing. People need to do some research on their vacation spots to be aware of dangerous and safe areas.
"If a child is using his or her parent's credit card, it's a great idea to check the transactions made via internet," Major Robertson said. "Online banking is a great way for parents to know how their children are spending money on their vacation."
In addition, do not drink and drive. Even if you book a nice hotel, make sure to stay with your group. Strangers can lurk just around anywhere.
Even if some stay in town, students still need to follow some tips to stay safe. Major Robertson advises students and parents to carry their cell phones at all times, in case they need to call for help. Middle school students and younger students shouldn't go anywhere without a parent or supervisor.
"We call it situational awareness in law enforcement," Major Robertson said. "We encourage everyone to be aware of their surroundings. There are people who try to take advantage of those who are in vulnerable situation. Do not give them the opportunity to harm you."