Albany-- Albany Police issues a warning-- As the temperatures cool down, your attention to safety should go up. Now is the prime time when more shoppers will be out at the stores and thieves and criminals are watching to rip you off.
It's that time of year again. More vehicles are on the roads. More shoppers are at malls. It's a paradise for crooks.
Kandy Whitfield is more than just concerned about crime. She's been a victim of it, twice. One time she was robbed while leaving a popular store.
"It feels terrible. It feels like somebody violated you," said Whitfield.
That's a feeling she may not ever shake. The Albany Police Department doesn't want others to get that same unwelcome experience. "Crimes of opportunity are presented more often than not during this time of the year," said Lt. Kenn Singleton.
Singleton says crime tends to go up as temperatures go down. More people are in the city as the holidays near. "We have an influx of people coming in to do shopping, visitation," said Singleton.
And criminals tend to take advantage of that. Here's a look at crime numbers for the later part of the year in 2006. In November, violent crime stood at 41. That includes robberies and aggravated assaults. Property crimes including burglaries and auto thefts stood at 362. In December, violent crime went up by 23 percent. Property crime went up by 4 percent.
"So businesses and citizens should start looking out," said Singleton. Singleton says now is the time to start looking at your surroundings. "If they're out and about doing their shopping, they don't want to leave packages in plain view or walk around with a lot of money," said Singleton.
With two young kids in tow, Whitfield never wants to be a victim again. She keeps her kids and her possessions close. "Try to be aware of anybody following behind me or kind of lingering around or looks suspicious," said Whitfield.
Careful suspicions could make 2007 end on a happy and safe note.
Albany Police already has a plan in place to keep you safe throughout the holiday season. They have a special task force. You'll also see more patrols, including horse, ATV and even by bike when weather isn't too cool.