Albany Police hand out holiday safety tips -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Police hand out holiday safety tips

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The clock is ticking. Are you done filling those Christmas wish lists?

The odds are that many of you will be crowding malls and stores for that last minute shopping rush. But as you get caught up in the rush, police say don't become a victim. There are some holiday safety tips you should take heed to.

Captain Benita Childs with Albany Police has a big task this holiday season. She's making her way through the mall, handing out pamphlets with holiday shopping safety tips. Her goal is to keep the "Merry" in "Merry Christmas" for shoppers because she knows that cheer can change in an instant.

"It takes no time for someone to break into your vehicle," said Childs.

This time of year, thieves are on the prowl for free merchandise just by checking out your vehicle in mall and store parking lots. So keep your purchases secure.

"Make sure that they're securely locked up in the trunk and please don't leave anything like an I-pod, camera or purse visible," said Childs.

A crook can knock out your window, get your items and be gone. Police also say don't keep too many purchases in your trunk. "We'd really like for people once they've shopped at a location and you're pretty full, go back to your residence and drop off those packages so you won't be disappointed later on," said Childs.

While shopping inside, there are some other safety tips. "Try not to carry more than two credit cards at a time. Be mindful of money you receive. There are some fraudulent bills out there," said Childs.

One of the biggest pieces of advice--don't carry a lot of cash on you. Always be mindful that people are watching how you spend.

"People who work everyday are out buying gifts and trying to enjoy the holiday. There are people that don't have those jobs and who are not legitimately trying to furnish gifts so they're going out and victimizing you and I so that they can also have a Christmas," said Childs.

The bottom line is to keep your ears and your eyes open. "If you see something suspicious, please call Albany Police. That's why we're here. Call us. We don't mind coming out," said Childs. But you don't want them coming out after you find out you've been taken by Christmas crooks.

Police also say to bring a buddy or family member with you. There's safety in numbers. If shopping at night, try to park in well-lit areas and away from large vehicles that can block your view of who may be hiding to rob you.

Also be mindful after Christmas. Police say not to stack boxes up outside. It tells people you had a really good Christmas and they now know what new items you have in your house. Wait until trash day, and even then, tear those boxes up so the boxes cant be identified.

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