WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- "It's a secret list, she won't let me look at it," laughs Ron Starling, as he and his wife Karen work their way down their Christmas shopping list while strolling through Hanes Mall.
"Yes, this man right here, when he's with me, I feel safer," said Karen.
Her husband isn't the only one looking out for her during the hectic holiday rush. The busy shopping areas in the Piedmont have a bigger police presence during the holidays. At Hanes Mall, up to nine extra officers are on duty, helping out with traffic jams and spotting would-be purse and package snatchers.
The officers also urge shoppers to take ownership of keeping themselves safe. The most important thing to do is to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you go outside, packages in hand. They say to always shop with a friend and if once outside, you're not comfortable, to head back inside and ask an officer or security or a store employee to walk you to your car.
They also advise to have it in your mind to be patient and to already know a different route if need be to get to your store, because with up to triple the number of cars heading in and out of the area, traffic jams are common.