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Tips for staying safe this holiday season

By: Shayla Terry

With the spirit of gift giving in full swing, Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell warns residents to be mindful of the crimes that occur during the season.

While many people have turned to the digital world for online shopping, it comes with packages arriving constantly to homes. Powell says to use the people you know to help keep your valuables safe.

“If you are going to be late coming in, ask your neighbor to pick up your packages from your front porch,” he said. “Don’t leave it sitting there for hours because people ride by looking for these things.”

Neighbors can utilize a buddy system where they take shifts picking up packages for one another.

Going to stores and picking up gifts is also a time to be precautious.

“Try to park in well-lit areas, even when you’re just going to Wal-Mart,” Powell said.

“Be alert of your surroundings.”

Powell also advises to keep your keys handy at all times.

“If you get scared or fear that someone is around you, hit your alert button on your car remote control,” he said.

“That way when it starts making noise, it will get people’s attention.”

If it comes down to it, your keys can also be used as a weapon. Now is the time of year to keep your protection with you when you are out and about. Pepper spray and things that attach to keys are good investments.

“Don’t be afraid to protect yourself,” Powell said.

Crenshaw County has had a slight increase in burglaries this month. Protect your homes by thinking ahead.

“We’re having some burglaries where people are knocking on the doors,” Powell said.

“When no one answers, these folks will take a chance that no one is at home and come in.”

Powell urges residents to keep their houses lit, even when they are not home. Also, leave a television or radio on in your absence.

“They hear a television or any kind of noise, and it makes them wonder,” Powell said.

“They don’t know absolutely whether you are gone, or just didn’t hear them knock. It puts a doubt in their mind whether they can kick the door in and go in your house.”

The Christmas season is a happy time. Keep your spirits up by protecting your homes and belongings.