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Holiday Shopping — Be Safer in Retail Settings with These Simple Tips

 Holiday Shopping: APD wants you to be safe!

I was running errands last weekend and the holiday shopping season appears to be upon us.  Stores had decorations and holiday items up and ready to go.  It’s just a matter of time before we start hearing “Jingle Bells” over the PAs!  If the decorations spur you into thinking of starting your holiday season errands and spending time shopping, put these simple crime prevention tips into use when you leave your home.

Situational Awareness: Maintain your focus! Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted in aisles, parking lots, or by texting or talking on your cell phone.  If small children are too much to handle in addition to parcels and bags, arrange for child care and go without them or bring a friend to help you.

 Purses: Leave the purse at home and only carry what you need to complete your errand.  Carry the items necessary to your errand on your person (in a pocket, a wristlet instead of a purse, etc). Never leave your purse resting in a grocery cart. Beware of cross-body bags — most women think these will deter a strong-arm robbery because the strap runs across the body and gives the wearer a feeling of being more secure.  In reality, if you are the victim of purse-snatcher, you could be seriously hurt or drug through a parking lot by your purse strap because you can’t get loose if the cross-body bag/purse is being pulled off of you! Strong-arm robbers view females with purses as targets. If you must lock a purse or parcel in your car trunk, do it before you arrive at your destination.  Try going without a purse — once you get used to it, you will probably like it.

 Parking Lots: Lock up! Scan the parking lot before you exit your vehicle.  People who appear to be loitering with no purpose are to be avoided.  Panhandlers too.  Have your vehicle keys/fob ready before you walk out of the store. Keep your vehicle locked and windows rolled up. Ask retailers for an escort to your vehicle if you are loaded down with parcels or do not feel safe. Don’t leave valuables in plain view when you exit the vehicle. When leaving the area, get in your vehicle and lock up first, then get settled with seat belts, adjusting mirrors, etc.  Remember, if it doesn’t feel ‘right’ to you, you can always go back another time with a friend. 

 Stay safe and enjoy the holiday season!

Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist

APD, Foothills Area Command