Law officers offer safe shopping tips

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Local law enforcement wants a safe and happy holiday season in the Miss-Lou this Christmas.

That’s why they are asking for the public to take extra precautions to prevent theft this month.

&uot;As far as shopping, I feel it’s going to be a safe season but we’re asking the public to help us by just being prudent,&uot; said Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff.

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While shopping, be certain to place all valuables such as purses, cell phones and recently purchased items where they cannot be seen from outside a vehicle, he said.

&uot;You’re inviting a burglary by leaving your valuables where they can be seen,&uot; Huff said.

Shoppers should also park in well-lighted areas and be aware of their surroundings.

&uot;Look around you and see if there’s something there that looks suspicious,&uot; Huff said.

And if you have any concerns, go back into the store and talk to a store employee or a security guard, he said.

Vidalia Police Chief Billy Hammers said the local community should remember that even though they live in a small town, it does not mean they are safe from crime.

&uot;It happens here too,&uot; he said.

He recommends people to keep the doors to their houses and vehicles locked as a precaution.

&uot;The main thing is people get a little careless at Christmas, and they’re not expected people to take anything,&uot; he said. &uot;But that’s not true. They will take it.&uot;

Teenagers tend to cause one of Vidalia’s annual Christmas problems, Hammers said. Often they take Christmas decorations from yards and move them around, he said. Hammers asked the public to contact police if they see or hear of anyone doing this.

To assist with safety, the police department has increased patrols in marked and unmarked cars at local shopping centers, Huff said.