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Visitor and Tourist Safety Information 
 

We're proud of Polk County's well-deserved reputation as a safe place for visitors. Vacation is a time to relax in safe surroundings, and Polk County is the best place to do just that. But regardless of where you travel, crime never takes a vacation. Take a few minutes to review these tips and make sure your common sense doesn't take a holiday. The following safety tips will help you enjoy a safe, secure vacation. Welcome to Polk County!

  1. For emergency aid of any kind, call 911 from any phone... in your hotel, dial 9-911.
  2. Stay alert. Trust your instincts. Enjoy our area in pairs or groups, if possible. If you're uncomfortable about traveling to or through a particular neighborhood, inquire at your hotel front desk for safety pointers.
  3. Pay attention when walking through parking lots. Avoid suspicious characters or areas with no lights. Travel with a companion in the evening. 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.
  4. 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. Secure your purse; carry your wallet in an inside pocket. Avoid hanging such personal items on chairs or restroom hooks unless you are certain only you can remove them. Keep track of personal items such as travel tickets, cameras etc.
  5. 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 -- jewelry, cash, cameras, travel documents -- locked in a hotel safety deposit box or room safe. Only take necessary valuables while traveling.
  6. Always lock your vehicle, when it's parked and when you're traveling in it. Keep valuables out of site at all times. Lock them in the trunk, glove box, or luggage compartment. CAUTION: The extreme heat of closed vehicles may damage electronic equipment and film.
  7. The Florida sun can burn, even on overcast days. Be sure to apply a sun screen to your skin before you go outdoors -- especially if your skin is fair.
  8. Be observant. Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement, security officers, or hotel/business managers.
  9. Florida Law requires safety belts for all front seat passengers, regardless of age. Children under the age of three are required to be in a safety seat; children aged four and five must be in a safety seat OR wear a seat belt.
  10. Florida Law requires that you turn on your 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Never pick up strangers and don't advertise your plans to strangers. Be wary of solicitors.
  13. 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.
  14. Upon your arrival, get your bearings. Note the locations of well-traveled, well-lit areas where you could get help, if necessary.
  15. Locate fire exits, elevators and the nearest phone. Plan the best way to exit in an emergency.
  16. Make sure your children know the name and address of where you are staying. Remind children of places they can go to get help if they become separated from you.
  17. 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.

The American tourism industry and Central Florida are concerned about every traveler's safety. We're working with local security directors and area law enforcement agencies to ensure that your stay will be enjoyable and safe. But we need your help! Remember, regardless of where you travel, crime never takes a vacation!

If the Polk County Sheriff's Office can be of any assistance to you while you are staying here, please contact us at the following telephone numbers:

Emergency: 911
Non-emergency: 863 298-6200
Toll free: 1 800 226-0344
Community Services: 863 298-6677