A Wonderful Gift to Yourself and Loved Ones is Crime Prevention
A Wonderful Gift to Yourself and Loved Ones is Crime Prevention
by Teresa Bernard
The winter holiday season is a busy time of the year for everyone including crooks. A lot of people are distracted by all the little details of their holiday plans and the shopping that lays ahead of them. Holiday shoppers are running from store to store often carrying large amounts of money and loaded down with packages. Perhaps more so than at other times of the year. Regrettably criminals will also be out and about looking for their next easy mark. This is certainly not the time to let your guard down. Becoming the unfortunate victim of a crime can certainly destroy anyone's Christmas cheer.
According to the FBI, crime incidents become more frequent during this particular time of the year. Burglaries, muggings, car thefts, robberies, pick pocketing, credit card scams and crimes at ATMs all increase during the month of December. Often the safety precautions we may normally take are forgotten as the anticipation and excitement of the Yuletide season causes us to let our guard down. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, remember to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Criminals will often target those who are distracted and aren't paying attention.
After that Thanksgiving feast when you head out to the malls to start that holiday shopping, be sure to keep the following tips in mind. Don't forget these tips are relevant at other times of the year too.
PARKING LOT SAFETY TIPS
The holiday season can be a challenge when it comes to staying safe while shopping. One reason is there are fewer daylight hours this time of year. When shoppers arrive at the mall it may still be daylight outside. Anxious to get inside and start shopping, they are probably not considering it will be dark when they come out. They are not thinking about their safety in the dark and pay little attention to where they park.
Because parking lots fill up quickly this time of year, it might be harder to find a good parking spot. Look for one that has plenty of light and lots of pedestrian traffic around. Avoid parking in remote areas if at all possible and don't forget to lock your vehicle when you leave. Become familiar with the area where you parked. Take a mental note of the row and number so you can easily find your car when you return.
Take a friend along when you go shopping. Using the buddy system reduces your chances of being mugged or attacked. If you are shopping alone, consider walking near other shoppers in the parking lot. Walk in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid areas where people are loitering. Walk with a purpose and authority in your stride.
SAFETY IN THE MALL
Once inside the mall stay away from dark hallways and backroom areas, especially near closing time. Avoid using bathrooms that are hidden in a back passageway. Use facilities located near the mall's food court or other well-trafficked areas instead.
Be careful and on guard when walking in crowds. Look out for people you do not know who deliberately bumps, jostles or gets too close as these may be diversions for pickpockets who try to steal your wallet. While you are at it, you might want to keep a close eye on your shipping bags and other personal property too. Keep your purse close to your body and never leave it unwatched in the shopping cart. It's not a good idea to keep your wallet, credit cards, or cash in your back pocket or a backpack. Pickpockets can swiftly with easy get at these items without being caught. As an alternative, carry them in your front pockets.
It's not a good idea to carry large amounts of cash around. Whenever you can, try to pay for your purchases with checks, credit cards, or debit cards. When you do have to pay with cash only pull out what is needed. Keep the rest of your money hidden from view. Make your most expensive purchases last so you can head straight home afterwards.
Before returning to your car, make sure you're not over-burdened with packages. Consolidate as many packages as possible, or make several trips to your car to deposit packages in the trunk. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid becoming a tempting target.
Always have your car keys ready to avert having to search for them in your purse or pocket when you reach your vehicle. Look over your shoulder periodically to make sure you are not being followed back to your car. As you draw near to your vehicle wait until you are almost upon it before using your fob to unlock it. Unlocking it too early could possibly inform a would-be assailant which car is yours. He could then hurry on ahead to reach your car before you and wait for your arrival. When you arrive at your vehicle be sure to look into the back seat before you get in to make sure no one is hiding inside.
Place your packages in the trunk out of sight. Do this when you first get to your car, rather than waiting until you park at your next stop. Gifts and other valuables should never be left in clear view this would provide thieves a reason to break into your vehicle while you are shopping.
When you get into your vehicle lock your doors immediately and drive off. Don't wait around sitting there to check off your shopping list, jot purchases down in your checkbook ledger or whatever it is that may cause you to delay your departure. This creates the perfect opportunity for an attacker to approach you and force his way into your car, especially if you didn't lock the doors.
An additional precaution you may to consider is to carry a personal alarm. A personal alarm is great for getting the attention of witnesses if you ever need it. They are easily carried on your wrist or key chain and will emit a loud annoying noise when activated. An attacker will not like that kind of attention. He will stop his assault and go away.
Following these safety tips will help your Christmas to be a cheerful and joyful affair.
About the Author:
For more information on self defense products, security devices, or personal alarms visit www.a1selfdefenseproducts.com.
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