COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As the holidays quickly approach us, it's important to stay safe while shopping.
Local law enforcement said they see an increase in crime during this season, but they gave a few tips to save your life and your wallet.
Sergeant John Bailey with Columbus Police said to be aware of your surroundings when you're out and about shopping, and also put your bags and gifts in your trunk.
"When you're out shopping don't leave anything that you can see in the windows, book bags, or purses," Bailey said.
Sergeant Tess Taylor with Columbus State University Police has been in law enforcement for 20 years.
"Don't try to fight for your property, it's not worth your life," Taylor said.
She said if you get into a dangerous situation with a criminal, create distance and draw attention to yourself by screaming, yelling, or blowing a whistle.
When you're shopping, she says to pay attention to the lighting and follow your instincts.
"Be a good witness, try to pay attention to the clothes they have on," she said.
That way, when you make a police report you can give an accurate description of the suspect so they can try and catch them.
Authorities say you can catch the criminals off guard too, if you make self defense an everyday practice.
"If you decide to carry a weapon, whatever your weapon of choice maybe, please remember you're bringing a weapon into that situation, and stay mindful of that because it can be used against you," Taylor added.
It is also important to remember it does get dark outside quicker now that it's Daylight Standard Time.
CSU also offers self defense and pepper spray classes to help keep students safe.