BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A rush to get Christmas shopping done is no reason to get careless.
In fact, ‘tis the season to preach safety.
Law enforcement agencies are trying to make sure that shoppers are security savvy so that the holiday shopping experience is as happy as the holiday itself.
“It’s all about opportunity,” said Maj. Chris De Back with the Biloxi Police Department. "So, if a thief sees an opportunity, they’re going to take it. And with the increased purchases going on this time of the year, certainly, there’s a lot more opportunity out there.”
Inside or outside, shopping destinations like Edgewater Mall are safe. There’s a lot of security, but law enforcement still wants you to be aware of your surroundings and practice a few preventative measures.
“When you put those things in your car, make sure they are out of sight,” De Back said. “Make sure any kind of valuables are out of sight and certainly lock your car, even if you’re going inside the store again for a minute or two.”
Louisiana resident Pauline Roussel is well-practiced in safety precautions.
“We shop together, never alone,” she said. “Don’t carry around an open purse and don’t let things just hang out of your pockets where somebody can grab it easily. We just try to be aware of whose around us and what’s around us.”
Alyssa Paige of Pass Christian said she’s hyper-aware of personal safety all the time, not just during the holiday season.
“Well, I have my enhanced conceal carry for one, and two, just be aware of your surroundings. Know what’s going on at all times. Stay off your phone when you’re going to your car from the store. And, just be aware," she said.
Surveillance cameras can catch porch pirates stealing packages delivered to your door, but Biloxi resident Rhonda Jones said a really good practice is decidedly lower-tech.
“Here, we have friends that are watching out for us,” she said. “We’re watching out for them. And I think that’s the greatest part is that we have just fell in love with all the people around here because it’s like a family.”
Other tips from Maj. De Back:
- Don’t leave your purse, bags, cellphone or other personal property lying around.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Make sure to lock your home while you’re away.
- Don’t publicize that you are out of town through social media.
- If you are expecting a delivery, be home or have a trusted person pick up the package from your front door.
- When shopping online, make sure the website is credible and don’t give any unnecessary information.
- If you are meeting someone to make a purchase, make the meeting spot a public location, such as the parking lot of the police department.