VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The holidays are busy days for criminals and the Valdosta Police Department (VPD) wants to make sure you stay safe while shopping.
With the holiday shopping rush approaching during a pandemic, Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan wants to remind everyone to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when shopping in-person.
Manahan also recommends the following:
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Try to park under lights so it can be safer to get in your car.
- When holding packages, have one hand free and keys ready in hand. Keys can be used as a weapon and the ability to open the door is faster.
- Don’t leave purses in shopping carts, keep your purse under you and have your hands on it. They are quick to disappear when left unattended.
“People like to go shopping in other people’s cars and if there is something valuable, they are quick to break windows out and go in and get it,” said Manahan.
Manahan said the type of crime they see most during the holidays is car break-ins. She urges everyone to put valuables inside the trunk and not leave anything at plain sight. She suggests when buying something expensive, take it home and drop it off.
Police said you should always lock your cars.
“Well that’s the easiest way to do the shopping for a lot of us, it’s to do it online,” said Manahan.
With an increase in online shopping due to the pandemic, Manahan said you also need to make sure porch pirates don’t ruin your holidays.
You can sign up at postal websites to get an alert when your package has been delivered. If you have a ring camera, then you can monitor it.
If you can’t pick up the box right away, have a neighbor or someone you know hold onto it for you.
Manahan said you shouldn’t leave packages on doorsteps for a long time or someone may be tempted to take it.
If you’re going out of town, Chief Manahan suggests reaching out to your local police department so they can set up a patrol in that area and swing by the neighborhood.
After Christmas, Manahan said you shouldn’t leave boxes from your new items outside by the sidewalk. She said you should take them to a recycling center or dumpster.
“Criminals will see that you got a new TV, they’re going to be watching your house and they’ll come inside and take your TV when you’re not there. So don’t leave large boxes outside so everybody doesn’t know what you got for Christmas,” said Manahan.
VPD plans to have its mobile command vehicle at the mall. The department will have extra patrols and officers there 24/7.