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      Albany police pleased with less holiday crime

      The Christmas season is usually a busy time of year for law enforcement.

      But this year, police say they TMre seeing less holiday crime than usual.

      The Albany Police Department and Dougherty County Police say they TMre pleased with the less-than-expected spike in holiday crime.

      And they want the public to help them keep those numbers low through the rest of the season.

      Lt. Tony Moore of the Albany gang Unit says holiday crime boils down to two simple factors.

      "The haves and the have-nots," said Moore. "Of course, the have-nots with the intent to go out and commit crimes so that they have."

      He credits a hands-on approach on behalf of police with lowering the holiday crime rate across the board.

      "The police department " the district commanders, the deputy chiefs, the chief of police, have gotten together and they have implemented strategies in certain locations of the city to reduce those crimes," said Moore.

      Local police agencies have stepped up neighborhood patrols and they have more plainclothes officers working the malls.

      Members of law enforcement say they TMre doing everything they can to keep the streets safe during the holidays but they emphasize that it TMs a team effort between the police and the public. By taking a few extra precautions yourself, you can go a long way to help prevent holiday crime.

      "People that are shopping need to be aware that they are a target of opportunity," said Chief Don Cheek of the Dougherty County Police Dept.

      Cheek says the key to not becoming a victim is self-awareness.

      "Don TMt flash cash. It TMs amazing the number of times you walk into a store and see somebody pull out a pocketbook or a billfold and, literally, start counting out a stack of money," said Cheek.

      Remember to keep your purse closed and secure and store all gifts in the trunk where they TMre not visible.

      Cheek urges everyone to also use the common sense approach at home - before, during, and after the holidays.

      "Don TMt pile presents up in front of a window," said Cheek. "You just advertised that you got a 52 inch LCD flat screen TV, a new computer, and an iPhone, and an Xbox, etc."

      Of course, law enforcement is also on the lookout for the season TMs most dangerous crime of all " drunk driving.

      As in years past, they TMre taking a zero tolerance approach so if you TMre doing any holiday partying, make sure you have a designated driver.