Don’t become a victim of involuntary giving

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

For the past few years, it seems like Christmas has gotten a little harder for people throughout the county. The economy has far-reaching effects, and years of unemployment can begin to add up and make some people desperate.

One day this week, I was at a local Walmart when I saw a woman standing in the frozen food section with her back turned to her buggy, which, along with the purse in it, was about 20 feet behind her.

Shelby County is far from the most crime-ridden area of the state, but we all have to be a little more careful during the holiday season. Just keeping a close eye on your purse or wallet can save you a lot of heartache in the future.

Scenarios like the one above provide perfect opportunities for those of questionable moral standards to steal what you work so hard to obtain.

Even if you don’t carry cash, think of what else is in your purse or wallet. A criminal would have access to whatever credit or debit cards you have, your identification and maybe even your financial records.

Police warn us to be especially vigilant during the holidays, especially during years when the economy is down.

Some of their tips, like being alert while walking to your car in a dark parking lot, may seem obvious. But living in a community like we do can sometimes give us a false sense of security.

Most of us in Shelby County have never been affected by crime in any way, which is definitely a great thing. Does that mean we can’t be mugged in a dark parking lot or have our homes burglarized? Absolutely not.

Sitting a box for a Sony 52-inch plasma flat-screen television at the end of the driveway for several days is like welcoming a burglar into your home, an officer told me last week.

I know I would hate for carelessness on my part to cause me to lose some of the Christmas gifts I’ve worked hard to buy my loved ones this year, and I know everyone else probably feels the same way.

There is nothing wrong with charity and helping your neighbors in need – few would argue that. But don’t let carelessness cause you to donate items unwillingly.