Chief: Beware of theft

Published 2:57 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

With serious holiday sales being the focus of the weekend after Thanksgiving, shoppers will have an opportunity to take advantage of great savings — giving thieves a chance to take advantage of shoppers.

Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said holidays, especially during shopping periods, could see increased activity by criminals.

“This holiday season should be a time of great joy,” McGougin said. “Unfortunately, it can be a time when crime becomes more prevalent.”

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Throughout the holiday season law enforcement officers will be making extra rounds and taking special precautions in protecting citizens who may be caught up in the holiday events and unaware of their surroundings.

As the holiday season progresses, McGougin said the calls for assistance increase for the department and other law enforcement agencies.

“Around this time of year our calls for service greatly increase,” McGougin said. “By putting some safety tips to use, people may find themselves less likely to be a victim of holiday crimes.”

McGougin said there are common sense rules that everyone should follow every day of the year, but especially around the holidays.

“Even though you may be rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings,” McGougin said. “Being off guard for just a moment, gives a criminal a chance to take advantage of you.”

Other safety tips suggested by Brewton Police:

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend and family.

• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

• Do not carry a purse of wallet, if possible.

• Always carry your drivers license or identification card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to you.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

• Keep cash in your front pocket.

• Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.

• Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

• Always park your car in well-lighted areas. When you do your shopping remember to store your packages in the trunk of the car and not on the backseat.

• When returning to your car, have your keys in your hand ready to open the door.

• Carefully look in your car to be sure that no one is hiding before you enter. Lock your doors immediately after entering the vehicle.

• When you are out shopping, leave some lights on at home. You may also want to let a neighbor know that you will be away from the house for a short time.

• If you have ordered packages, have a neighbor check periodically to see if they have been delivered.

“We hope that everyone will use caution and stay alert during the holiday shopping season,” McGougin said. “We certainly want everyone to stay safe and not have any trouble. But, we will also be keeping our eyes open to make sure we provide the best safety for everyone — not just at the holidays, but every day.”