Columbus police Lt. Steve Cox offers safety tips to last-minute shoppers

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 23, 2013 

Lt. Steve Cox offers tips to last-minute shoppers

By LARRY GIERER

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.com

Debra Comeaux of Columbus has good reason to take precaution when she goes shopping during the holiday season.

The Columbus woman said her daughter was recently carjacked in Atlanta.

Comeaux said that knowing something like that should make people start being wary.

"I'm always careful, but especially this time of year," she said, while shopping at Columbus Park Crossing.

"I make sure I leave nothing visible in my car. Everything bought goes in the trunk. I always look around when I am going to my car. If a van is parked near my car, I wait for some other people to come by before getting in. If it is dark I am always going go to wait for other people before going to my car."

Columbus High senior Maya Earl said shopping at this time of the year does not make her nervous and she probably should be more aware of who is nearby when she is in the parking lot.

Like Comeaux, she is sure to put the gift she has bought in a place where it can't be seen. "I don't leave anything on a seat," she said.

Lt. Steve Cox, who directs the Columbus Police Burglary and Theft Division, would say Comeaux and Earl

are doing the proper things.

Cox said using common sense can prevent thefts and issues that could spoil your holiday season.

"The No. 1 thing is lock it in the trunk," Cox said. "Packages, purses, anything of value that you leave in a vehicle, make sure it is locked in the trunk."

This time of year thieves are looking for the easy mark, Cox said.

"If they go by your car and see something of value, there is a good chance they will hit it," Cox said. "But if they don't see anything, they will move to the next car. You have to assume, if it is in front of his face, he will take it."

Also, be aware of your surroundings, Cox said. And you should be extremely alert in large shopping areas.

"If you think someone is following you to your car, just walk right past the car and circle back into the store," Cox said.

And using common sense does not stop when you get the gifts home, Cox said.

If you get a new TV, don't put the box in the trash in front of your house," he said. "If you do, guess what? The bad guys knows you have one, and they even know what size it is. Take the box and cut it up."

Staff writer Chuck Williams contributed to this story.

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