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Christmas behind bars

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Amarillo, TX - Holiday traffic, delayed flights, and icy roads are the biggest challenges most of us face trying to wrangle our families together - but others face a different challenge.

On a national scale, petty crimes like theft generally see an uptick in the holiday season - and that means bail bondsmen see more business.

But on a local scale, bondsmen actually see less traffic through their doors.

"Usually the week before, we kind of slow down," says Chris Konnecke of Freedom Bail Bonds in Amarillo.  "Crime never slows down, but people calling us to get their loved ones out, because they're saving up for Christmas."

And finances are ever-more important in a sluggish economy when just about everyone is stretching their dollars as far as they can - which means more than a few minor offenders may be spending Christmas in a jail cell.

"If so-and-so gets arrested on traffic tickets, they're going to do what they can to get them out," explains Konnecke. "And then you've got the ones that are on a fixed income, and so what they can afford goes to food, rent, and some presents for the kids.  That's probably not what anyone wants to hear, but it's the reality, at least right here in Amarillo. They don't want to bail anybody out if they're not contributing financially to the family; they may just be staying in jail."

The Potter County Jail echoed Konnecke's observations - they told me they'd only seen a handful of inmates get bonded out today (Dec. 24th).

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