Police urge safety during Christmas shopping

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas is a time for merriment and shopping, but it is also a time when criminals are on the lookout for an easy victim.

The Troy Police Department is encouraging people to be extra vigilant during this holiday season to ensure safe celebration.

“Lots of people are out shopping at this time of year,” said TPD Sgt. Benny Scarbrough. “Something we all need to remember is it is best to shop in numbers. Know the place where you are going and known the entrances and exits. Also, remember where you park so you aren’t wandering around with packages.”

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Scarbrough said it is also important to keep packages in the trunk of your car while you are shopping and always keep vehicles locked.

“Have your car or house keep in your hand as you approach a door or vehicle. You can use those as weapons,” Scarbrough said. “Also, remote controls for your car have panic buttons on them. Use them. It will draw attention to you if you have a problem.”

Other good rules to follow are to stay in well-lit areas, keep purses and wallets close by, avoid carrying large amounts of cash and be aware of your surroundings.

For college students going home for the holidays, Scarbrough recommends not leaving laptops or other electronics behind in apartments or dorm rooms.

“If you do have to leave something behind, write down serial numbers for every piece of electronic equipment and take pictures for an inventory in case something is taken,” Scarbrough said, noting that apartments should be left locked with windows checked and drapes or blinds pulled closed.

And with holiday parties being planned, it’s a good idea to also plan for designated drivers. Drinking and driving is not an option, Scarbrough said, adding that the Troy Police should be the first call in the event of a vehicle, or other emergency situation.

“Above all, if you become a victim or if you see someone who may be victimized, or you see a dangerous situation, call us an let us know immediately,” Scarbrough said. “If there is a doubt that comes in your mind, go ahead and call. We’ve got officers here. That’s our job. It’s what we want to do.”