Pascagoula, MS (WLOX) - "These days they are not just snatching groceries; they are snatching children, too."
Tammyetta Spaulding is keeping a closer eye out for thieves during her shopping trips this year. The single mother believes the downturn of the economy could possibly drive up crime.
"A lot of people feel they have to do what they have to do for themselves," Spaulding said.
Pascagoula Police Chief Eddie Stewart and his team are ready to catch the bad guys who prey on innocent families during this holiday season.
"I think the best way to curtail crime is our presence. And we see them, and they will see us," Stewart said.
But citizens also need to keep their guard up all times. Chief Stewart says to help the community, he is distributing three thousand safety tip pamphlets and sponsoring holiday safety classes.
"We have broken it into four categories: shopping safety tips, child safety, home safety and driving safety."
Stewart believes the classes will be a big success because many people have no idea how to protect themselves.
"The bad guys choose victims, and I think the way we carry ourselves and the way we appear in public are all important. Be careful, use good common sense, look at your surroundings and shop in numbers if you can."
Citizens welcome the extra effort.
"I take the hats off to the Pascagoula Police Department. The police are doing a terrific job in supporting the citizens of Pascagoula and the surrounding areas," Emmitt Broughton said.
Chief Stewart says the department received 50,000 dollars from the Governor's Highway Safety program to conduct road blocks and continue the "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
The first holiday safety class will be held on Saturday at the Pascagoula Municipal Court Building at 9am. For more information call the Pascagoula Police Department 228-762-2211.