The 2010 Holiday Shopping Season officially begins on Friday, 11-26-10, known as BLACK FRIDAY. This name alone should cause you to be a little more cautious as you make your way to the mall or favorite shopping area.
Although most people are heading to the mall with the thought of being thankful and grateful for what they have and the ability to buy gifts for those they love, there are criminals lurking in and around the mall aiming to take what you have. With personal crimes increasing it is imperative that you keep the following holiday shopping safety awareness tips in mind as you go about your holiday shopping and festivities over the next six weeks.
Be sure to also follow holiday home security and safety tips. You want to make sure your home is a secure and safe place over the holidays. We are now entering an extremely vulnerable time - the Christmas Holiday Season - where home burglaries and home invasions always tend to increase. Keep your personal safety and security a priority whether you are at home, shopping, or traveling.
Stay Aware Of Your Surroundings At The Malls, Stores & Shopping Centers
■ Carry some type of personal protection device like Personal Alarm with a loud 130 decibel siren to alert others around that you need help. For greater security protection you may want to consider Pepper Spray or Mace. (Check local laws pertaining to TASERS/Stun Guns and even pepper sprays). Your safety and those of your family members should be a priority. If a criminal attacks you for your purse or packages, give him your belongings. Your life is more important! If he tries to hurt you or a loved one, use your personal device to protect yourself and those with you.
■ If using an ATM at the mall, be vigilant and aware who may be around you. Try not to make large cash withdrawals. Remember the malls may be extremely crowded and this would be an excellent time for a criminal to catch you off-guard and grab your cash.
■ Shop during the daylight hours whenever you can. If shopping at night, try to go with another person. If shopping alone and leaving the mall late at night, ask a security officer to accompany you to your car.
■ Always choose a bank with an ATM located in a highly visible, well-lit area. If you notice anyone suspicious approaching, cancel your transaction and leave.
■ Avoid using ATM’s where you must go inside the ATM area unless you are with others. This leaves you highly vulnerable to a criminal attack. Use the drive-up ATM whenever possible.
■ Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Don’t advertise large rolls of money in public. You don’t know who may be watching.
■ When you leave your vehicle, make sure to lock your doors and keep windows closed. If you have an alarm on your vehicle, use it.
■ Even though you may be rushed and have a thousand things on your mind, stay alert to your surroundings.
■ Don’t leave valuable items inside your car that are visible to others. Place packages in the trunk of your car.
■ Avoid carrying too many packages that may make you a target. Make regular trips to your car to drop off packages.
■ Keep your purse tucked close to your body at all times. Don’t let it dangle from your shoulder as this may be a perfect setup for a purse-snatcher.
■ For men – carry wallets in front pocket rather than back pocket or jacket. Thieves are looking for easy targets as they move through the crowded malls.
■ Park only in well-lit parking areas and as close to a mall or store entrance as you can. Don’t settle for an isolated parking spot just because you’re in a hurry. Hold out for a safe spot to open up.
■ As you walk through parking lots, make sure you are aware of your surroundings and walk with authority. Don’t look like a victim.
■ Don’t be talking on your cell phone as you leave the mall walking to your car. You need to pay close attention to your surroundings and anyone who looks suspicious.
■ Approach your car with car keys in hand and survey the exterior and interior of your vehicle before entering. Place your packages in the trunk all the while aware of anyone who may be nearby or approaching you.
■ Don’t get into your car if you are being followed or are suspicious of anyone standing near your car. If so, return to the mall or store or where there are other people. Ask for store security assistance.
■ Beware alert and aware of strangers who may be approaching you for whatever reason. At this time of year there are “scammers” trying various methods to distract you with the intention of taking your money and belongings.
Because of our crazy economy there seems to be an increase in carjackings, personal assaults, and robberies. Pay close attention to those around you and have your keys ready as you approach your car. Put your Pepper Spray on your key holder just in case. Better safe than sorry!