Shoppers can expect an increased police presence in Walton County for Black Friday

Shoppers can expect to see more deputies and marked police vehicles in Walton County this holiday weekend. (WJHG/WECP)

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Black Friday shopping can be a great time to find bargains on gifts for everyone on your list.

But with more people out and about comes the need to be safer when you're shopping.

"With more shoppers being out looking for holiday gifts, there will be more opportunities for criminals to take advantage of people that are just out shopping for their families," Dustin Cosson, District 3 Commander for the Walton County Sheriff's Office, said.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office said some of the things you can do to protect yourself and your belongings are to always hide your bags and lock your car.

"If you see someone that's acting suspicious or running, or even stealing something, just give us a call," said Cosson.

In Walton County, you can expect to see more officers in busy shopping areas this holiday weekend.

"School is out this week, so we'll have some of our SRDs, school resource deputies, that will be out assisting,” said Cosson.

Some shoppers said they plan to watch their surroundings when they're out buying gifts.

"I'm going to keep my purse attached to me, that's what I'm going to do, and I'm going to keep my grandchild right next to me," Maureen Justusson, a Walton County local, said.

"Typically I try to do some shopping in the evening, but I always try to go with someone else, (and) to make sure that we're in a parking area that is well lit," Joan Murphy, who lives in Walton County, said.

Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also said to be careful with unfamiliar sellers, and to use a credit card instead of debit because many offer consumer protections if something goes wrong.

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