As the holidays approach and the holiday shopping season begins in full force with stores offering a variety of special sales, personal safety is not something at the forefront of everyone's mind.
Thieves Love the Holiday Season, too.
All the hustle and bustle going on over the holidays gives thieves exactly what they want- the opportunity to become invisible. By being as nondescript as possible, they can move through big crowds of rushed and distracted people without anyone noticing them. Thieves know that the police are overloaded during the holiday season and they take full advantage of opportunity. They thrive on the fact that the police and stores' loss prevention staff have their hands full with amateur thieves.In the meantime, the professional thieves are busy breaking into cars in the parking lots or stalking robbing/scamming the people who are alone.
Tips on How to Stay Safe While Shopping
Many things can happen to you or your vehicle in a parking lot while you are inside a store, happily holiday shopping away. For instance, your car can get damaged by opening doors, rolling shopping carts or testy drivers trying to fit into tight parking spots. There are also personal practices you can avoid, to help keep you and your car safe while at the mall this holiday season.
- Always park in a spot where there is plenty of light and if possible, park close to your destination.
- Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows. It's a common practice for thieves and ne'er-do-wells to sit in their vehicle and wait for a distracted shopper to return to their vehicle.
- Close all windows and lock all doors. This seems like a common-sense practice, and it is! But sometimes, in our rush, we don't think to double check that our vehicle is properly secure before leaving it.
- Take note of where you parked your car and what store entrance it is closest to. Not only will this save you the time from wandering around a parking lot, but knowing the direct route to your vehicle is also a safety practice. Parking lots are full of distracted drivers.
- Shop with a friend or family member - having a friend walk to and from the parking lot with you will help keep you both safe and sound.
- Place your packages in your trunk or under your seat where no one can see them. The holidays are known for vehicular break-ins due to the temptation of newly purchased gifts being in the open for curious thieves. Locking your purchases in your trunk not only keeps them secure, but will avoid enticing a thief to break into your car.
- Condense your packages into one or two bags to create the illusion that you did not purchase so many valuable (and theft-worthy) items.
- Request for a security guard to escort to your car. If you finish shopping and it's grown dark and you feel even slightly unsafe walking to your car alone - don't hesitate asking a security guard or employee to escort you to your vehicle.
- When walking to your car have your head up and your keys ready, the last thing you want to do is appear vulnerable to criminals. In addition, make sure to look under and in front of your car to make sure that no one is waiting to catch you off guard.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Often thieves will disguise themselves as normal shoppers who accidentally bump into you stealing your purse, wallet, packages, car keys or even worse, attacking you.
- Get into the car, lock the doors and exit the area immediately. Criminals prey on shoppers who sit in their cars to make phone calls or review their purchases for the day. Don't leave yourself susceptible to such a risk.
Home safety during the Holiday is just as important! Check out our Blog Post about making sure your home is safe!
and make sure you check out our other blog post to help make sure your vehicle is Winter Ready!