With the holidays fast approaching shopping in crowded stores is inevitable. Crowded venues, especially shopping malls, are prime targets for thieves, carjackers and abductors. It’s easy to focus on quickly getting in and out of a store without paying attention to your safety. Keep in mind it’s your responsibility to safeguard yourself, your loved ones and your possessions.
To avoid becoming distracted by your to do lists, plan out your shopping destinations and what you plan to purchase while still at home. Plan to purchase only what you can easily carry. Take a companion with you if you will need assistance. If you shop alone, tell a family member or friend where you plan to shop and when you plan to return home. Plan your shopping trips during busier times, preferable while there is daylight. Leave any flashy clothing and expensive jewelry at home. You do not want to draw attention to yourself. If you will be shopping with children have rules about staying together. Have a clear, easy to implement for what to do if you get separated from your children.
Walking To And From Your Car
- Be mindful of where you park. Park in well-lit, high traffic areas with security cameras.
- Always park in well lit areas as close to the entrance to the store as possible.
- Park where there is a lot of foot traffic so that people can see you coming and going.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and windows up except when exiting your vehicle.
- Stay alert and scan your surroundings at all times for anything or anyone that feels off.
Inside Malls and Stores
- Carrying a Purse: Have a “system” for everything you carry on your person. If you’re carrying a purse, securely strap it across your body. Work out of the purse. Do not set anything on a counter. If it’s not in your hand, it’s in your purse.
- Be Discrete: If you have to give payment info, your address, phone number or any personal information to a clerk do not speak it. Other people will be listening and can easily figure out information about you by what you speak. Instead, write the information down, show it to to the clerk and then take back the paper after the information is input into the computer.
- Be Prepared to Exit: When leaving the store, have your keys ready. If you feel uneasy, ask for a security escort to your vehicle.
Implementing these personal safety tips can make your shopping experience enjoyable and most importantly, safe.