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Be safe this holiday season

‘Tis the time for holiday shopping, and locals are being urged to protect not only themselves, but also their bank accounts when visiting retailers.
“Unfortunately, the holidays present many crimes of opportunities for burglars, muggers and pick-pockets, as well as cyber thieves,” Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said. “It’s our hope that everyone has a safe holiday season.”
McGougin said the first step in doing that is done as one leaves home.
“Always lock you doors while you are away from home and at home,” he said. “That includes the front door and the doors on your vehicle. Also, be sure to remove all your packages from the vehicle, including those in the trunk.”
McGougin said one should park in a well-lighted area as close to the store’s entrance as possible.
“And be particularly aware of persons in the parking lot, especially near your car,” he said. “Carry only the credit cards you will need and don’t carry or flash large sums of cash.
“Ladies, be sure to carry your purse close to your body, and you men should put your wallets in your front, inside pocket,” he said.
McGougin also warned parents to instruct children on what to do if they become separated.
“First off, never tell your child, ‘You better be good or that police officer is going to get you,’” he said. “That teaches your child to be scared of the police. The police are there to help in times of need, which is why you should tell your child to seek out a police officer or security guard if they become separated from you while shopping.”
When shopping online, McGougin offered these tips:
• shop with familiar merchants or companies;
• keep passwords private – use letters and numbers in combination in passwords; and,
• use a secure browser.
“And most especially after the big day comes, don’t advertise what gifts you received by putting the boxes out beside the road on trash day,” he said. “Break the boxes down or take them to the dump yourself.”