Safety at home and out in the public begins with ourselves. Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you. A little bit of pre-planning can go a long way in ensuring you do not become a victim and the thieves don’t make away with your valuables.
• If possible, shop with a friend or a family member. There is safety in numbers.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If possible, pay for purchases with a check, credit or a debit card.
• If possible, carry only your driver’s license, personal checks, or necessary credit or debit cards.
• If you must carry a purse, do not wrap the straps around your arms or shoulders. Carry it by clutching the purse tightly under your arm.
• Don’t carry a wallet in a back pocket. It should be placed in a front pocket of pants or an inside pocket of a jacket.
• Be aware and alert that thieves look for the “high dollar” shopping bags. If possible, slip bags or packages in a plain, nondescript bag.
• Watch purchases while eating in mall food courts; bags can be easily switched or stolen.
• Educate your children about what to do if they are lost as well as “Stranger danger” reminders.
• Do not overburden yourself with too many packages. If possible, use store’s package pick-up.
• Have your car keys ready in hand before leaving the store.
• Don’t tempt a burglar or a thief by leaving valuables in plain view. If you do return to your vehicle to unload purchases, place them out of plain sight or in the trunk of the vehicle.
• MP3 players, iPods, cell phones, laptop computers, GPS systems, satellite radios and other small electronic devices are a car burglar’s dream. Small and easy to conceal, these are the types of items most often stolen from a car. Sitting in plain sight, they attract a thief’s attention.
• If possible, shop early and do not wait until the stores close; fewer people are present at this time.
in parking lots
Report any activity that seems suspicious. Nothing says you have to be confronted to be suspicious. If something you see or hear makes you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, it’s probably because it should. Call mall security or the police department if you witness any suspicious or criminal activity while doing your holiday gift shopping.
• Shop early and leave early to avoid evening darkness.
• Park in a well lit or high visibility area.
• Lock valuables in the trunk.
• Make sure vehicle windows are rolled up and doors are locked.
• Leave the store with others, not alone.
• Ask mall security to escort you to your vehicle if you feel uncomfortable.
• Watch for people who may be following you. This can occur inside as well as outside.
• Walk briskly, confidently and directly through the parking lot. Be cautious of people handing out fliers or asking questions in the parking area.
tips at home
• Keep the outside of your home well lit with doors locked and window curtains/blinds closed.
• Do not display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from window or doors.
• After the holidays, don’t advertise gifts received by boxes left for the garbage collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, nonclear garbage bag.