12/24/06 — Officials warn shoppers, travelers to be wary this weekend

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Officials warn shoppers, travelers to be wary this weekend

By Lee Williams
Published in News on December 24, 2006 2:04 AM

Wayne County Sheriff's Office officials are urging residents to be on the lookout as they finish up their last-minute shopping or leave home to visit relatives for Christmas.

Officials say thieves tend to get more brazen and desperate around the holiday season and they might attempt to rob an unsuspecting citizen. They look for running vehicles, purses in backseats of cars or in shopping carts -- anything that might make an easy mark.

While Goldsboro police and deputies will be out in force trying to keep a lookout for thieves, authorities say residents can do their part by staying alert of their surroundings.

Residents should also take a few precautions to keep their homes safe, Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said.

Here are a few safety tips.

*If you are going to be out of town during the holidays, enlist the help of a neighbor to keep a check on your home while you are gone. Ask the neighbor to pick up the mail and your newspaper.

*Purchase a timer that will turn your lights on when you are not away.

"You want to give people the sense that the house is occupied and somebody's home," Winders said.

*If you choose a relative to check on your house, tell your neighbor what type of vehicle the relative drives, so it will not generate calls about suspicious activity at your house.

*Turn your Christmas lights off especially on a live Christmas tree before you leave because it is very combustible.

Traffic will be heavy around this time of year, so drivers should take extra precautions while on the road, Winders said.

*When you are tired, always pull over at a rest area or a well-lighted area like a service station, convenience store or diner and take a break.

Winders also urged residents to drive safely.

"If you drink, do not drive," Winders said. "But, if you do partake of alcoholic beverages, always have a designated driver."