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Stay safe shopping
Authorities on watch
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Forsyth County News
The onset of the holiday shopping season has authorities reminding the public to be safe while looking for a good deal.

Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said deputies will have an increased presence at local retail sites and will concentrate on limiting the opportunity for theft and vehicle break-ins.

“Also, we’ll be very concentrated toward people’s safety,” he said. “We want to encourage everybody to pay attention and always be aware of your surroundings.”

Cumming police will also patrol retail areas in town, including Market Place Boulevard.

The sheriff’s office has released the following tips for safe shopping:

• Park in a well-lit area as close to store entrances as possible.

• Avoid parking where a vehicle’s visibility is blocked by large trucks or trash bins.

• Before leaving the vehicle, look around for anything suspicious.

• Always lock the vehicle and never leave it running at the curb to go in a store.

• Walk in a brisk, confident manner and be aware of who is around.

• Know where your children are at all times and don’t get separated from them.

• Don’t leave valuables or packages where they can be seen inside vehicles. Store them out of sight, preferably in the trunk.

• Never carry more items than you can safely hold.

• Don’t flash large amounts of cash when paying for items.

• Never leave purses unattended in shopping carts and keep them closed at all times.

• Keep wallets in the front pants pocket.

• Shop with a friend. There is safety in numbers.

• Don’t wear expensive jewelry or watches and make sure prying eyes don’t see credit cards when you use them.

• Get receipts and keep them in a pocket or purse.

• Shop in stages and make multiple trips to unload.

• Have keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Fumbling around gives a thief time to approach.

• Check for suspicious activity as you approach your car and make sure that the doors are still locked.

• Look in windows to make sure no one is hiding inside.

• Don’t go home if you think you’re being followed. Dial 911 and drive to a well-lit area where there are other people to wait for authorities.

• If traveling out of town to visit family or friends, make sure they know your route and estimated time of arrival.

• Keep emergency contact numbers with you in case of an accident.