The holidays are upon us – ah, the music, the colors, the food, the shopping! We are approaching the busiest shopping season of the year, a time for buying decorations, holiday gifts, and more. But, according to the LAPD Crime Prevention Section, “it is also a time when busy people become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime.” While shopping for all these goodies this season, make sure the bad guys aren’t shopping you.
Here are some ways to keep yourself from becoming an easy target this holiday season.
Pay attention to your surroundings
Don’t allow talking on your cell phone or responding to texts to distract you from what’s going on around you. Keep your head on a swivel, scanning from side to side, while walking with purpose. This keeps you aware of your surroundings and oncoming potential problems.
Carry only the essentials
Let’s start with that expensive designer bag you’re carrying. It makes a statement and telegraphs wealth, real or imagined. If you can leave it at home, the best place to carry your personal items is on your body, such as in pockets or in your waistband. If you must carry a purse or bag, take a look at its contents before shopping. You really only need car keys, cell phone and wallet. Even your wallet should only contain essential shopping items: identification, cash and credit/debit cards.
There is always safety in numbers
If you can help it, don’t go out shopping alone. Shop with a friend, or several.
Practice parking lot safety
Park in a well-lit area or shop during daylight hours. Try not to park a sedan between two large vehicles, like SUVs, vans, or trucks. It blocks you from view of the rest of the lot. Remember to roll up all windows and lock all doors when leaving your car and don’t leave valuable items in plain view.
Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a hazardous duty. A few simple precautions can keep you safe, prepared and out of harm’s way.