Don't let criminals spoil your holidays - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Don't let criminals spoil your holidays

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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

It's called the most wonderful time of the year, but it's actually a time when law enforcement sees an increase in certain crimes.

While many people like to help others this time of year, some take advantage.

"Those individuals want to take those packages that you have, they want to steal them, they want to steal your pocketbook, or even your wallet," said Sgt. Curtis Wilson with the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

Wilson suggests shopping with a group of people and always be aware of what's going on around you.

"A lot of larcenies take place where we have individuals who snatch pocketbooks or they're breaking into cars, or those type of things," said Wilson.

Remember to lock your car doors, and don't leave anything where it can been easily seen.

"If you are shopping for a great deal of folks and your vehicle gets full, take the time to go home, unload it, and then come back out," said Wilson.

Business owners should also be prepared, and make sure employees are trained on what to do if there is a robbery.

"If someone comes in and they're demanding money, just make sure you give it to them. It's always great to be a better witness then become a victim," said Wilson.

Wilson also suggests not taking large amounts of cash with you. Instead use money orders or credit/debit cards.

A lot of people travel during the holiday. If you'll be away from home you should let your neighbors know. Sgt. Wilson suggests asking someone to pick up your mail and having someone park a car in your driveway or in front of your house, so it looks like someone is home.

You can also call the sheriff's department and have them do a property check for you. They monitor your home, check your alarms, locks, and doors. It's all free.

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