MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Law enforcement officials from Choctaw County Ala, Lauderdale, Kemper and Clarke Counties are sharing ways people can stay safe during the holiday season.
"We want everyone to remain safe. We want everyone to protect their property and protect their children. The main thing is to be safe and just take care of one another,” says Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp.
Kemper County Sheriff James Moore says one way to stay safe while out shopping is to use the buddy system.
"Always shop with a buddy. When you are coming into town make sure that, even when you pull into the parking lot, you scan the area. Even before you get out of the vehicle, to make sure that everything is the way it should be,” says Moore.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie says paying attention to surroundings and staying off the phones is the best way to stay safe.
"More and more people are walking around texting on their phones. Put the phone in the pocket. When you're leaving the store, going to your car, be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of people who are walking up behind you. Stay off the phone. There is a time and place for that phone, certainly not texting and driving, but just stay off the phone and be aware of your surroundings,” says Sollie.
When it comes to keeping your home and personal belongings safe, Choctaw County Sheriff Scott Lolley says to watch what you throw away.
"Pay attention to what you do. A lot of times you'll put big ticket items, like boxes for flat screen TV's and stuff like that, outside beside your garbage can. A burglar riding by will see that, he now knows what is in your home. If you can find a way to dispose of stuff like that, it could help you a lot,” says Lolley.
Some other tips include: Shop during daylight hours, Store packages in the trunk and avoid carrying large amounts of cash when shopping.
The number of burglaries, fraud and shoplifting increases between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Retail crime increases by about 30 percent. Shopping scams and fake charities also appear more during the holiday season.