After a slew of break-ins in the Monkey Junction area, the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department has some tips for protecting yourself and your presents. Brenda Connor is a safe shopper. "I go to the car, look in the back seat, I lock the car, I put the packages in, get into the car and lock my car immediately," said Connor. Savvy holiday shoppers take plenty of steps to protect themselves when buying gifts. "Just make sure that your cars are locked, look around yourself, make sure that the pocketbooks are in the right place and just be real careful," said John Stukes. It's no different when they get those gifts home. "Make sure that the doors and windows are locked," said Paul Greenman. "Flood lights are on, timers on the lights and electronics if we should leave the house." Sheriff Ed McMahon said robberies typically increase during the holiday season. With so many people out of work this year, McMahon said some people might think it's easier to find a victim than it is to find a job. "Not only is it the holiday season, but we're also in a bad economy right now," said McMahon. "So people, desperate people, do desperate things." McMahon said starting a neighborhood watch is one of the best ways to protect yourself. He said nosey neighbors can be a blessing... they're often the ones who spot potential thieves. "Pay attention to your community," McMahon said. "Pay attention to who is coming in, who is going out." If you are a robbery victim there are things you can do to make sure you get your things back if they're found. "Engrave some initials somewhere, where the person wouldn't think to look, so that if we do find some property we can identify it as yours," McMahon said.
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