HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you are heading out this weekend to buy a last minute gift, the Hattiesburg Police Department says you won't be alone.
"There's going to be a lot of people in Hattiesburg, a lot of people doing what you're doing," said Lt. Latosha Myers. "Getting out, getting that last minute thing, rushing."
Lt. Myers says there will be more patrols at highly traveled areas, like Turtle Creek Mall and Highway 98.
"This weekend we have put out more officers, they will be more visible, making sure people stay safe in the parking lot, to direct traffic," said Lt. Myers. "We will be out here in case anyone needs help, we will be out here for you guys."
Research shows the week before Christmas is one of the worst for accidents across the country, with the busiest time from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
"We tend to see people disregard for traffic devices," said Lt. Myers. "Running stop signs, running red lights, taking a right when they say no right on red. Causes a lot of rear ends, fender benders."
If you are in an accident, Hattiesburg Police say to get to a safe place, check on the other drivers involved and call 911. Lt. Myers says the incident needs to be documents, so you should never leave the scene.
When you find a parking space, Lt. Myers suggests parking near lights if you are shopping at night and always be aware of your surroundings.
"Be safe when you are shopping and be smart," Lt. Myers said. "Don't have too many bags to where you can be vulnerable, also take someone with you. There is nothing like shopping with a friend, so take someone with you so you can be extra safe if possible."
When in doubt, if something doesn't seem right, Lt. Myers says do not hesitate to call HPD.
"When you are out shopping, if you see anything suspicious in the parking lots, see anything suspicious in the stores, call Hattiesburg Police," said Lt. Myers. "You would rather be safe than sorry."