Before the last bite of turkey settles, throngs of shoppers will be chomping at the bit for the sales on Black Friday — or even tonight.
While many may have nothing but great deals on their minds, local law enforcement officials remind residents that shopping season also means an increase in crime.
Thieves can be sneaky in their attacks, but a conscientious shopper can prevent from becoming a victim.
Statesboro police Maj. Scott Brunson said it is all a matter of using common sense.
When shopping, make sure all your valuables, whether they be personal items or gifts recently purchased, are locked in your trunk, he said.
Then, make sure your vehicle is locked.
If a trunk is not an option, “secure valuables out of sight,” Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson said.
Even if it means circling the parking lot a couple times, “Park in well lit areas,” Brunson said.
A car parked in a dark, dimly lit spot is attractive to thieves, and also poses a danger should a lone shopper be accosted by someone intent on harm.
“Walk to or from shopping areas in well-lit areas, in groups, if possible,” Anderson said. “Be visually aware while walking to and from shopping areas and note any persons loitering near cars or approaching you.”
If someone suspicious, or that you don’t know, approaches you outside a shopping location, “go back inside or to a heavily populated area,” Brunson said. If that isn’t possible, “draw attention to yourself” if you think the person intends to rob you.
Not all shopping means getting out into the crowd. Anderson also suggests being extra cautious when ordering items online.
“Be aware of entering personal ID or financial information to a questionable site,” he said. “Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank statements if purchasing online; you will be in a better position to quickly spot and report any fraudulent transactions.”
Personal safety is also a factor when the Black Friday rush begins, Brunson said.
Every year, news media reports someone becoming involved in a fight or argument over sales items. In Statesboro, while it may not be a common occurrence, it’s still not a good idea to enter into a confrontation with someone over an item on sale, he said.
“No item is worth getting hurt over,” Brunson said. “No matter how much money you are saving.”
Fighting over the last specially priced television could also land one in jail, he said.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.