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Common sense, situational awareness can keep you safe for the holidays

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

For many, the holiday season is a time filled with joy. From gatherings of friends and family to participation in religious and civic activities, the months of November and December provide much to do.

But the holidays can also be an unfortunate time—a time when ne’er-do-wells are all too intent on dashing holiday spirits.

In the last few weeks, some Brunswick County residents have fallen prey to home break-ins, robberies and assaults. Most recently, an elderly man was stabbed in the parking lot of a local grocery store during an attempted carjacking. The sheriff’s office has since apprehended the suspect and charged him with that crime and others relating to home burglaries.

Highlighting stories such as this can serve as reminders of how important it is to protect yourself now and all year long.

Local law enforcement officials can offer a number of safety tips—everything from protecting yourself at home to how to take care of yourself and your family when you’re out in the community.

Using common sense and having more awareness of your surroundings play key roles in personal safety.

If you go out shopping this holiday season, remember to park in well-lit, highly visible areas. Be aware of the people and vehicles around you before you exit your car and before you leave the safety of a store. Try not to shop alone, and if you purchase more items than you can carry, ask a store employee to accompany you back to your vehicle.

Also keep your keys handy so you’re not distracted by trying to find them when you return to your vehicle.

To help lessen the chances your vehicle will be targeted for theft, keep valuable items such as cellular phones, cameras, GPS systems, iPods and computers out of public view. Also, lock your vehicle when you’re away.

When you’re on the roads, especially during the holiday season, remember it’s also a peak time for alcohol-related crashes. From just before Christmas through the New Year, DWI-related arrests and wrecks increase.

If you’re celebrating this holiday season, avoiding driving or if you must travel, do so with a designated driver. Always wear your seat belt and allow plenty of travel time to get to and from your destination. Local law enforcement agencies will be out in force for the next several weeks in an attempt to keep dangerous drivers off area roads.

Do what you can to help ensure you, your family and friends have a safe and fun holiday season. Protect yourself by following these and more tips offered by local law enforcement officials in today’s front page story, “Crime can increase this time of year: How to keep safe.”

We wish you safe, happy holidays.