ODESSA, Texas–The Odessa Police Department wants you to be mindful of your surroundings and the safety of others, especially during the holiday season.

As many families begin to have loved ones joining them in their own home to celebrate the holidays, there are some extra precautions to take. There are some things homeowners can do to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Gun safety is a huge concern here in the Permian Basin and across Texas, especially during the holiday season with more people in your home than usual. And while it is always a concern, having more people than normal in and out of homes to celebrate the holidays, makes it even more of a concern to put your weapons in a safe place, away from others.

Odessa Police Department Corporal, Steve LeSueur says, “Although we are experiencing a decrease in thefts and burglaries from last year to this year, we still are just anticipating a rise this holiday season just like always.”

The most important thing to keep in mind when operating such a weapon is to understand how to properly use it, and taking classes can help with that.

LeSueur adds, “You know, although it’s not required it’s definitely recommended to take gun safety classes, you know there’s lots of great instructors, companies out there who offer gun safety classes. Although it is, again, it’s not required, it’s still not a bad idea to obtain your license to carry. And you really have nothing to lose by doing that.”

On top of that, some parents may even gift their kids with toy guns for Christmas, and while that is okay, there are some things to keep in mind.

“You know, just be mindful that there’s a lot of toy guns out there nowadays that can have the same appearance as a real gun. So, there’s nothing wrong with playing with it, however when you are out in the public, just keep that in mind, if you do have it, especially there is a lot of toy guns out there nowadays that do look real, so just keep that in mind,” says LeSueur.

Of course, in the event that you do need assistance in protecting your firearms, the Odessa Police Department is here to help as LeSueur mentions, “Please just be aware of your surroundings, report all suspicious activity, you can also utilize the Odessa police department app.”

If you have any questions or concerns about gun safety in your home, contact the Odessa Police Department and they will be able to give you any advice as well as answer any questions you may have, and even give you a free gun lock!