Well pard’ner… I like the way you’re thinking.

It was an honor for our office to be part of the Annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Dignitary breakfast, and parade. Since its beginning in 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has committed nearly $430 million to the youth of Texas. Large events, like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, garner local, regional, national and international attention.  In response, local leaders realize the expanse of the venue and the security issues involved, so they plan accordingly.

Working hand-in-hand with the members of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, they facilitate an amazing experience that doesn’t stop at the gates of Reliant by dealing with issues like security, equipment, transportation to and from the event, food, livestock, entertainers and the list goes on.

Rest assured they’ve done their part, but it is not the catch all.  Inherently, you also have the responsibility to plan accordingly before you attend the event so you and your family will be safe.  And it all starts at home.

Before you leave, understand that many criminals realize that families leave their homes for hours at a time to attend the rodeo.  They look for the seemingly vacant homes to burglarize and the unattended vehicles to steal.

So what can you do?

Before leaving home, try to begin the adventure of the journey by preparing for it.  Try to think as a criminal does, then plan accordingly.

Make certain all of your doors and windows are locked.  If you leave during the day, make certain you leave lights on inside and outside the home turned on.  When night arrives, and you are still away from home, it will appear to passers-by that someone may be home.  Leave a television of radio tuned to a talk show on inside. This gives the appearance that there is activity inside the house and may lead a burglar to believe someone is in the residence.

If you have a trusted neighbor, or family member, who is not attending the rodeo, advise them you will not be home.  Have them keep an eye on your home and/or pets.  Give them instructions on what to do if they see or suspect something suspicious is going on at your home.

If you have a deputy patrolling your neighborhood, flag him down and let him know you’ll be gone for the evening so he can look for criminal activity in and around your vacant residence.

In the driveway, secure your vehicle and lock the doors.  Remove valuable items and do not entice entry by leaving valuables in plain sight if you do not remove them.

Let someone know where you are going before you leave and make certain you trust the person to whom you are releasing this information.

Before you leave, identify the route you are taking, plan for traffic congestion, check your fuel level, tire tread and lights. Know where you are going.

Enjoy the trip.

When you arrive, once again, lock your vehicle and hide valuables from plain sight. Remember where you parked.  Often, you don’t have a choice where you park, so, understand, when you leave, it may be dark. Plan accordingly.

Do not enter the rodeo grounds with contraband items.  Know ahead of time what you can bring inside with you.

Once inside, understand that, by statistical probability alone, your chances of encountering someone who has criminal intent or may have had a bit too much to drink increases.  The crowd is very large so stay alert.  Keep your valuables close and your children closer.

Enjoy your stay but have an escape route identified just in case something goes wrong.  Familiarize yourself with the layout of the area.  Where are the first aid stations?  How are the police officers dressed and where can they be found?  Where are the exits?

And remember, there are animal exhibits at the rodeo.  Unless it is specified you can do otherwise, do not touch, feed or get too close to the animals.

There ya have it, pard’ner! Rodeo Safety 101. Now… go rodeoin’ and remember, you are the greatest champion of your own safety.  Be safe and best wishes from your team at Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 2.

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