Richmond County Sheriff's Office encourages safe shopping

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says crimes like theft and burglaries peak during the holidays.

Deputies encourage shoppers to take extra precautions while shopping.

Shopper Audrey Ahmed has been shopping for years and she knows that crime tends to be more prevalent around this time of year. They said that one of the ways they're protecting themselves is being attentive.

"I'm always aware, of who's in front of me and who's around me especially this time of the year," said Ahmed.

According to Lieutenant Calvin Chew, public information officer at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Ahmed is right. He says that theft usually happens to people who aren't paying attention.

"Criminals are looking to try and get people that are not conscious of what's going on around them," Chew stated.

Paying attention is just one precaution Ahmed is taking. In addition to being receptive to the environment, she said she's going that extra mile to ensure that she is not a victim.

"Instead of having the big pocketbook I have to lay everywhere, I kind of get these kind of clutch pocketbook when I'm out in the store, I'm not vulnerable," Ahmed said.

The Sheriff's Office says that shopping in groups, parking in well lit areas, having your keys ready when walking in a parking lot, and not leaving visible items in your car can deter potential criminals. Also, try to refrain from shopping at night and keep items like purses and wallets close to your body.

"Don't let yourself be a victim," Chew said.

If you plan on leaving town for the holidays, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office offers a house watch system free a charge, where officers keep an eye on your home while you are away.