With Black Friday and the start of the holiday season being upon us, the Tifton Police Department is asking citizens to put safety and prevention at the top of their list.
Black Friday shopping has a lot of good deals, but it also brings the worst out in some shoppers. Be the exception, says Lt. Steve Hyman at the TPD.
“You’ll come across people willing to run you over for the best deal, but you don't have to be one of them. Take the high road. The few dollars you save isn't worth the consequence you may face getting into an argument or altercation over the merchandise,” he stated.
The holiday season is time for thieves, both in local neighborhoods and around shopping centers. The TPD is asking local citizens to be the eyes and ears of their neighborhood, local merchants and the police department.
“Simply taking a few seconds to report suspicious activities in your neighborhoods to the police and making merchants aware of would-be shoplifters will make this holiday season safer and more joyful, while preventing a friend or neighbor from becoming a victim to crime,” Hyman said. “We want to remind everyone as you get ready to go out looking for these good deals our local businesses are giving us or if you’re just leaving for a minute, lock your house securely and arm your alarm system. This is a perfect day for an intruder to target your home, since plenty of us are crawling the malls in search of those perfect presents.”
He also noted that when arriving in the parking lot, start checking things out before parking. Look around for people acting suspicious, setting in cars and walking aimlessly around the parking lot.
The following are shopping safety tips:
• Shop with your friends or relatives if possible; there is safety in numbers. Keep a close eye on your children while shopping.
• Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps. Use fewer bags, rather than juggling multiple bags; try to move your purchases into just a few bags.
• Carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible.
• Be aware of what is going on around you; make eye contact with people you meet, strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
• Park in well-lighted areas, as close as possible to store entrances; be particularly aware of persons in the parking lot, especially near your car.
• If you have to wait for a ride, wait in a busy, well-lighted place.
• Keep your car doors locked! When shopping, keep gifts in the trunk or hidden from view in the interior of the car. Also, put all of your packages in the trunk before departing one parking lot and driving to another. Waiting until your next shopping destination allows others to see packages go into the trunk of your car and then you departing into the mall or store.
• Use a credit card to avoid thefts of cash that is irreplaceable. Shopping with a single credit card is preferable because it’s easier to cancel one, rather than several, if your wallet or purse is stolen.
• If you have access to a cellular telephone, carry it with you. Remember that 911 works on a cell phone, even those that are not activated. Also, avoid talking on a cell phone when walking to and from your vehicle to keep from being distracted by the conversation.
• Don't hesitate to notify Tifton police or store security if you see any suspicious activity.
The following are tips on theft prevention around neighborhoods:
• Trim bushes around windows — this eliminates the thieves and prowlers from using them as cover.
• Be extra cautious about locking doors, windows and garage doors, even when you’re at home, when you leave the house and if you will only be gone for a minute.
• If possible, check on your house at lunch or have someone watch it for you while you are at work.
• If there is a knock at your door, even if you do not feel comfortable answering, turn on a light, slam a door or something to let them know someone is at home.
• Activate your alarm if you have one, and if you are traveling, make arrangements with someone to keep an eye on your house for you.
• Don't put large displays of holiday gifts in view of your windows or doors.
• Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings; don't allow your attention to become distracted from your purse or packages.
• Record the serial numbers of your valuables and take photographs of them. Do the same thing with Christmas presents prior to wrapping them. Mark these items with your Georgia driver’s license or ID number.
• Break down boxes of expensive gifts and place them in bags when you throw them away, this keeps from advertising what you have in your home to people looking for things to steal.
• Watch out for your friends and neighbors; if you see someone plundering around, call 911. Promptly report suspicious persons, vehicles and crimes. If someone has a valid reason for being in your neighborhood or approaching people in a parking lot, they will not mind explaining that to a police officer.
“The majority of criminals are opportunists,” Hyman stated. “They see things that you leave lying out, not locked or you being distracted by something, and they take advantage of the situation.”
Citizens can prevent becoming a target by being aware and mindful of the tips above.
“Everyone has a role in making our community safe and helping to protect each other and each other’s property,” Hyman said. “It is harder for would-be thieves and other criminals to operate in a community where the citizens are alert. It increases their chances of getting caught. We would like for everyone to follow these tips and remind family members and friends to be more careful and aware during the holiday season.”
- Local News
Tifton native hopes to be Home Free during ‘Sing-Off’
Returning Monday night for a fourth season is NBC’s a cappella singing competition, “The Sing-Off,” which will feature Tifton native Austin Brown.
Performing with the group Home Free, 27-year-old Brown says he couldn’t ask for more or be more excited to have been given the opportunity to compete on the show.
“There’s no other platform like this for a group like Home Free,” he told The Tifton Gazette in a phone interview.
County tables dress ordinance until 2014
County commissioners met for their final meeting of the year Monday night, and agreed to table discussion of an appropriate dress ordinance. Discussion has been tabled previously, as commissioners have requested more time to study the matter before an ordinance is proposed.
Freedom Seekers turn out in Tifton
The cloudy weather didn’t keep bikers from coming out in large numbers Saturday morning to kick off the annual Freedom Seekers Motorcycle Club’s Tifton Toy Run at Tifton Harley-Davidson.
- Rain does not damper annual Christmas parade
Get Affordable Care answers at free event
Confused by the Affordable Healthcare Act? Many people are. But you can get answers this weekend at a free community lunch, to be held at Tift Regional Community Events Center.
Wrong way flight leads to arrest
A Tifton woman was arrested Wednesday after she fled from a deputy when driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
Trees headed to troops in time for the holidays
The first pickup of Christmas trees at the Brumby and White Christmas Tree Farm Thursday morning for the Trees for Troops program was a success as volunteers helped cut, bale, tag and load the trees to be delivered to designated pickup points throughout the area.
Pastors pen book they claim will 'blow the lid off America'
Doerun, Ga., population 368, nestled in a conservative county in one of the most conservative states in the country, is not a place one would expect to produce a new viewpoint in America’s homosexual debate.
Inspirational Sycamore man with rare disorder earns college degree
A Sycamore man with a very rare disorder and who has become an inspiration to those who know him has earned a college degree from DeVry University at the age of 63.
Juvenile reportedly threatens to burn down mother’s house
A juvenile was arrested Tuesday after threatening to burn down his mother’s house on South Park Avenue.
According to an incident report filed at the Tifton Police Department, officer Brian Shockley reported he spoke to a woman who lives in the 700 block of South Park Avenue. She informed him her son was burning papers in the ashtray inside of the residence. She told him to stop and he became angry.
- More Local News Headlines
- Tifton native hopes to be Home Free during ‘Sing-Off’