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Shopping in crowds and all the excitement of the season sometimes adds to our vulnerability and lack of attention to safety. Taking a few preventative measures can increase personal safety and protect your property during this very special time of year.• Shopping with a friend or family member can lessen your chance of being a victim.• Be aware of your surroundings and walk confidently to your car with your keys in your hand. This will allow for quick accessibility to your car.• Park in well-lit areas. Always keep your car doors locked, both when you are in your car, and when you are away from it.• Condense your packages so that you have better control of you items (less handles to hold on to). This also provides the illusion that you did not purchase as many items.• Carry your purse close to your body. Keep wallets in front pockets. Both wallets and pocketbooks can be carried inside a coat. • Try to shop when the mall is less crowded. • Teach your children what to do in the event they become lost. Advise them to look for a trusted adult. An adult with a name tag (employee), a security guard or a law enforcement officer, are good choices.• After the holidays, don't leave empty boxes for new electronic items in plain view, or by the roadside for pick-up. Break-down boxes and take recycling options.• Update or create a home inventory of all your valuables, in the event the items are stolen. Take pictures of property and record serial numbers. We are available to assist you in this process. If you have questions, would like some help with any of these tips, or would like us to come speak to your community group, please contact the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (336) 849-7836.