By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Wigington: Staying safe while out shopping
Word from the Sheriff
Placeholder Image

The holidays are busy times for everyone, but it’s important to practice personal safety skills even in the most hectic of times. Whether your holiday activities include shopping, traveling, decorating, or attending social events, we recommend a few simple rules to help make your season safer.

• Stay alert and watchful. When you leave a store, take a moment, pause, and scan the parking lot quickly for anyone who may be lurking near your vehicle. Report any suspicious behavior to management or security personnel. If you think it’s not safe to continue to your vehicle, go back into the store and ask for security personnel or call for local law enforcement personnel to escort you.

• Use good judgment when storing gifts in your vehicle. If you are dropping off packages in your car, but plan on returning to the stores for more shopping, consider moving your vehicle to a new parking place, in case someone has been watching you put packages in your car. Packages should be stored out of sight.

• Lock your car, whether you are in it or not.

• Be aware of safety at an ATM (automatic teller machine). Keep all doors locked at a drive-up ATM. Keep the vehicle running and watch all around. When approaching the ATM, be alert for suspicious persons. Never approach an ATM if the lights at the site are not working. If possible, take a companion along to the ATM, particularly after dark. Before you approach the ATM, have your card ready and know your code, so you’re not fumbling for it in the line. Memorize your PIN, and do not write your PIN on your ATM card or carry your PIN in your wallet or purse. When using the ATM, stand directly in front of the keyboard, blocking the view from others. Never accept offers of assistance with the ATM from strangers.

Don’t let the rush and stress of the season take your attention from your safety, and the safety of your loved ones. Stay aware, and stay safe. I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season!


Jeff Wigington is the Sheriff of Rockdale County. He can be reached at 770-278-8001.