(WTVM) - All of us at News Leader 9 hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday! You needed it, now that the holiday shopping frenzy between Turkey Day and Christmas Day has begun!
With all the endless errands to do, it's time to be aware of the grinches that intend to steal your Christmas.
We think these common sense tips bear repeating because every year News Leader 9 covers holiday-related thefts and this year, we don't want you to be a victim.
First, always be aware of your surroundings. It's easy to walk around stores semi-conscious with so much on your mind. That's what thieves count on.
Be focused on what you are looking for and be aware of anyone who gets too close to you or your packages.
Shop with a friend - especially if you plan to make a lot of purchases. That way, you can look out for each other and help carry bags so you don't get overloaded.
Don't talk to strangers. Often thieves work in pairs – one asks for help while another takes your wallet. It's not rude to politely suggest they ask a salesperson for help.
Don't shop with your children. Kids need and deserve attention, and that's what thieves are counting on so you're distracted even more than usual. So do your best to leave the kids at home.
Don't sit in the parking lot longer than necessary and don't sit there on your smartphone or texting for too long. It's just another way to be aware of what's going on. Also, lock your doors.
Every year, police warn us to put shopping bags in the trunk instead of the back seat. We don't always listen, but this year, promise yourself to use the trunk and you'll be less likely to be a victim of a smash-and-grab crime.
While you are out shopping, keep some lights on, maybe a radio or tv playing, just to make it look like you are home. It can be an effective crime deterrent.
Even though holidays are exciting and fun, they can make us feel overwhelmed sometimes. So take control and give yourself the gift of "peace of mind."
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906