While you're out hunting for bargains, criminals may be hunting for their next victim.
Because of this, the Gwinnett County Police is launching their annual Holiday Task Force.
Additional officers at malls and shopping plazas throughout Gwinnett County starting Thanksgiving evening. The Task Force will be out on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through New Year's Eve. GCPD hopes the greater presence will prevent crime against holiday shoppers. These crimes include robberies, entering autos, financial fraud and DUIs.
GCPD is offering these tips to help keep you safe while you shop and celebrate the season:
- Observe your surroundings; report any suspicious or loitering persons.
- Store packages in the trunk of your vehicle and not in the passenger compartment. Covering items with a blanket or coat is not a deterrent to thieves!
- Avoid putting packages into your vehicle, then continuing to shop. Most stores will hold packages until you are ready to leave.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
- Shop with others and allow retail employees to assist you in transporting packages to your vehicle.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Use secure payment such as a credit card and check your account statements frequently.
- Have purchases delivered to your home.
- Use a cell phone camera to immediately record the serial numbers of purchases. Most electronics have a sticker on the side of the box containing the serial number and other numbers unique to that particular item. To be extra diligent, you can send the photos to your own email account so they can be accessed from any computer. Should the worst happen, this information can be provided to police.
- When traveling, arrange for someone to collect your mail and newspapers. Do not announce travel plans on answering machines or social networking sites.
- Do not drink and drive. The holidays are host to numerous social gatherings and alcohol is frequently involved. Call a taxi or use a designated driver.