The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared, and aware during the holiday season, or any season for that matter! Lloyd Pro Group wants to help keep your holidays joyous.
-When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible. As you approach your vehicle, scan the area, glance underneath the vehicle, and take a quick look inside before entering.
-While out and about, present an alert appearance!
Be aware of your surroundings; scan the area from time to time. Avoid concentrating so hard on shopping that you fail to keep track of your surroundings, others near you, or your personal property.
-Wear conservative, comfortable clothing.
-Grip carried items firmly and avoid leaving them unattended.
-Carry minimal cash and valuables, wear minimal jewelry.
-Shop with friends or relatives if possible; there IS safety in numbers. As you shop, be alert in crowded places. Among pickpockets’ favorites are revolving doors, jammed aisles, elevators, and public transportation stops and vehicles, especially at rush hour. Carry the day’s most expensive purchases closest to your body, and don’t carry so much you lose the ability to react quickly.
-If possible, leave your children with a baby-sitter while you are shopping. For holiday shopping, consider making arrangements with family or friends/neighbors, and take turns baby-sitting. If you take your children with you, keep a close eye on them while shopping.
-Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they ever get separated from you in a store/mall, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are. It’s best to keep children under four (4) in a stroller. Children in shopping carts should be properly belted and seated in the child carrier area at all times —never let your child stand in or push a shopping cart.
-Return to your vehicle periodically to check on it and reduce the amount you are carrying and must keep track of. Store packages in the trunk or, if your vehicle doesn’t have one, out of plain view (on the floorboard, under a blanket or clothes, etc). When possible, have purchases delivered instead of taking them with you; many businesses offer free delivery during the holiday shopping season. Ask for an escort to your car if you feel nervous.
-Return to the mall or store for assistance if you spot suspicious activity near your vehicle. Stay alert while loading items into or out of the vehicle or arranging cargo stowage. If someone approaches, and you feel threatened, get in and lock up until they leave the area; if they loiter, drive away.
-Using debit or credit cards is much safer than carrying a lot of cash. If the vendors you will visit don’t take cards, consider obtaining traveler’s checks which, unlike cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen. Visit ATM’s only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible.
-Using the drive-up is usually safer than walking up or into a banking facility. Remember to scan around you as you make your withdrawal. Many ATMs now have “fisheye” mirrors mounted above the keyboard to enable you to view the entire surrounding area while conducting business; try to patronize ATMs so-equipped, and use the mirror!
-If anyone is loitering, or you don’t like their looks, go to another ATM. Stand such that those behind you cannot see your PIN as you enter it; your PIN should NEVER be written down on or carried with your ATM card.
-Be observant. Avoid dark areas, short-cuts, cul-de-sacs, and suspicious persons. Stay near light and people.
-Be prepared to flee potential problems. If apprehensive about any location for any reason, leave. Consider carrying a whistle. Weapons are not recommended, and may be unlawful.
Happy Shopping! 🙂