HELENA, AL (WBRC) - With all of the distractions and hectic days that comes with the Holiday Season, it's important to think about personal safety. Law enforcement agents agree. So, officers came together in Shelby County Monday night to give folks safety tips.
Officers with the Helena Police Department say beware of danger in the parking lot.
"That's probably the area that causes the most risk," explained Lt. Brad Flynn. He recommends grabbing the car keys before even stepping outside the store to avoid wasting time in the parking lot. Flynn adds the keys can be used to fight off the bad guy if a situation does come up.
State Trooper Curtis Summerville says the biggest problem troopers see during the holidays are people driving drunk. He hammered on making sure folks are using designated drivers.
Other problems seen this time of the year by troopers are more road rage incidents and blue light copycats. This is where someone pretending to be an officer by using blue lights to try and pull over a victim.
"If you're in a secluded area, and you see lights behind you, and you do not believe this person is a police officer, you have a right to go to a lit area or properly lit area before you pull over," explained Summerville. If there is any question on someone's mind about the person pulling them over, Summerville says then that person can turn on the emergency blinkers to show you're not just trying to get away.
A deputy with the Shelby County Sherriff's office says for those planning holiday trips, make sure to leave some lights on at home. It could trick thieves into thinking a family was never gone.
"Use Christmas tree lights or the timers. Use them to turn on things like lamps, or televisions. Anything that has the appearance that you are home," explained one deputy at the meeting Monday night. He also said
a top way to deter the bad guys from breaking in is an alarm system or even the appearance of one.
" Talk to one of your friends who does have an alarm system. And borrow or get them to buy you one of those ADT sticks signs you can stick on your lawn. Because if they think you got an alarm they're not gonna mess with you!"
One other piece of advice, is that folks shouldn't toss all the boxes outside the day after Christmas. Deputies say doing that will basically act as a list for crooks. Instead toss them over time or toss them at the dump.