Despite lack of seasonal crimes, shoppers should be careful
by James Phillips
Dec 20, 2010 | 1420 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jonna Darty, right, and Emily Posten leave the Jasper Mall Friday afternoon after finishing up some holiday shopping. (Photo by: Daniel Gaddy)
Jonna Darty, right, and Emily Posten leave the Jasper Mall Friday afternoon after finishing up some holiday shopping. (Photo by: Daniel Gaddy)
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The holiday season can be a catalyst for shopping-related crimes, but Jasper Police Chief Danny Patton said those crimes have been nonexistent this year.

Patton said the Jasper Police Department has not taken a single report as of Friday regarding any shopping-related crime.

"It's rare that we don't have a purse-snatching or something like that during this time of year," he said. "We don't typically have a lot of them, but they do happen around this time. I'm thankful we haven't had any of those reports."

Despite the lack of crime, Patton said shoppers should continue to use common sense over the final few shopping days before Christmas.

"When it comes to shopping safety, the tips we give people are mostly common sense ideas," he said.

Patton said police have always told people to park close to the building and under a light if possible.

"The problem there is that everyone tries to do that, but there are only so many of those spaces available," he said.

Patton said no matter where shoppers park, they should always be aware of their surroundings.

"You've got to know what is around you," he said. "Always be on the lookout for anything suspicious, most of all suspicious acting people that may be nearby."

For women shoppers, Patton said it is a good idea to only keep non-valuable items in a purse.

"It would be best to keep things like hairbrushes and makeup in purses, while putting your money other areas, like a pocket," he said. "Most of the time a suspect will just grab a purse and run. If your valuables are somewhere else, that will save you a lot of money and time."

Keeping valuables in a front pocket is also a way to protect yourself from would-be pick-pocketers, Patton said.

"Especially men, we tell them to keep all money in a front pocket and not in a billfold," he said.

If confronted by a possible robber, Patton said to always give them what they are asking for.

"Never fight with a suspect," he said. "Let them have what they want and call the police."

The Jasper Police Department has increased its patrols of area parking lots over the past month, and Patton said that would continue until after the new year.

"We are increasing our presence in retail areas, and that may have something to do with those types of crimes being down," he said. "I've also asked officers to get into the stores and shopping areas to walk around. We are doing our part to keep our citizens safe while they shop, and we hope the season continues to have safe shopping and everyone has a merry Christmas."