The holidays are upon us! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, to quote the old Christmas standard made popular by Andy Williams. But as you indulge in the "much mistletoeing" that Andy sang about, and while your "hearts will be glowing," the Crestview Police Department also wants you to be safe and secure.

Here are a few tips to keep you, your family, your belongings and your home safe during the holidays:

LOCK YOUR VEHICLE DOORS! This is especially important when you’re doing your Christmas shopping and have gifts in the car. If you’ve not done your day’s shopping, put the packages you’ve already bought out of sight in the trunk, if you’re driving a car. Always make sure your doors are locked. When you get home, take all of your valuables out of the car, including shopping, firearms, electronics, cellphones, handbags, etc., and then lock your car before heading into the house.

HAVE US CHECK UP ON YOUR HOUSE. If your family is planning holiday travel "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house," sign up for our Vacation House Check program. At your request, our patrol officers will make periodic security checks and contact you — or someone you designate — if any concerns are found. To submit a request, download the form from our website,, or pick one up at our Dispatch Center. You may drop off the completed form at our offices, or fax the form to 682-2080.

TAKE CARE CROSSING THE STREET. Sadly, we’ve had an unusual number of pedestrians hit by vehicles this year. In almost every case, it was because the pedestrian wasn’t paying attention to traffic. Look both ways and look again before you cross. Always cross in a crosswalk when one’s nearby, preferably one with a traffic control light. Put down your cell phone. When your mind’s on phone calls, shopping lists, holiday gatherings, Christmas cookie baking, trimming the tree and Santa’s lists, please don’t become another vehicle-vs.-pedestrian statistic on our list.

DESIGNATE A DRIVER. Andy Williams sang about "parties for hosting." If you plan to savor some spiked eggnog or other alcoholic beverages at holiday events, make sure you have a designated driver who will abstain. My patrol officers are extra vigilant this time of year and won’t hesitate to arrest drunk drivers. As you leave a New Year’s party, don’t let an "auld acquaintance" you’ll wish could "be forgot" be one of my cops or an Okaloosa County Corrections officer.

As the community celebrates this special time of year, my officers, command staff, administrators and I wish you safe and secure holidays, the blessings of a joyous Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year. 

Tony R. Taylor is the Crestview Police Department’s chief of police.