Buyer Beware

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2002

For some, holidays are a time to stael

By Alan Riquelmy / Selma Times – Journal

It may be the season for shopping, but its also one for safety.

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Lieutenant David Evans of the Selma Police Department said that there are several things everybody can do to make their season safer.

He encouraged people to put their shopping packages in the trunk of their car instead of the backseat before they move on to a different store.

That way, he said, they’re not as visible.

Also, women with purses should secure them against their body.

It discourages purse snatching, Evans said.

Parking in a well-lit area is also a must.

Evans advised everyone to be aware of suspicious people nearby while doing your holiday shopping.

If you don’t feel safe walking to your car, he added, both the Selma Mall and Wal-Mart have security personnel that will escort you to your vehicle.

Evans said that during the holiday shopping season police officers patrol the parking lots of all major shopping areas.

These areas include the Winn-Dixies on Dallas Ave. and Highland Ave., Food World, the mall, and Wal-Mart, among others.

While shopping, Evans said, be sure to guard your credit card and Social Security number. Social Security numbers often appear on personal checks, he said.

He said that everyone should write down the numbers to call if your card is stolen, and to keep them someplace separate from your card.

Evans said that a big problem during this time is thieves breaking into cars.

That’s a big reason why the parking lot patrols occur, said Evans.

However, he added, it’s also a shoplifting deterrent.

Evans said that the patrols have really decreased the amount of crime.

Evans added that the police will also be enforcing parking violations in handicapped spaces and fire lanes.

Home invasion is something else that’s also a problem, Evans said.

Home invasion is when a break-in occurs while the resident is at their home.

Evans cautioned everyone to not open their door until they know who the visitor and what their business is.

A peephole is the best way to do this, he added.

For example, Evans said, if the visitor says they are with a package delivery service then that should be verified before the door is opened.