Is Black Friday a thing of the past? Its not even Thanksgiving yet and many stores are already advertising Black Friday sales, or sneak peaks.
We have some safety tips for those of you that will be taking advantage of these sales and post Christmas shopping sales when those gift cards you received can be used for what you wanted, but didn’t get. These tips also apply when it is time to return those unwanted or non-fitting gifts you received.
Please remember these basic safety tips year round. They could save you from becoming a victim of costly damage, theft , and may even help save your life.
Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member and while looking for a place to park, be aware of what and who is in the area.
While walking from or back to your car to the store, keep an extra eye out for people approaching you and your children that are shopping with you. Keep your Pepper Spray in your hand, ready to use if needed. DO NOT allow these people to approach. Walk away and let them know you are protected.
Dress casually, comfortably, and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. If you can, use a fanny pack instead of a purse or wallet. They are prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas. Avoid carrying a large amount of cash and place what cash you have in your front pocket.
When possible, pay for purchases with a check, atm, or credit card. Remember most atms have a per day spending limit and credit cards have fraud protection. Notify the card or check issuer immediately if your card or check is lost, stolen, or misused. Keep a record of your check account number and all of your card numbers in a diversion safe at home along with the phone numbers to call.
Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps and to use your pepper spray, or stun gun if needed . If your are attacked, packages can be replaced, but your, or your child’s life cannot.
Try not to store purchases in your car and then continue shopping. It is better to take a load home and then to return to shopping. If you must leave packages in your vehicle, make them as invisible as possible. A thief looks into vehicles as he/she walks past. If they see something they want, they will check your car for easy access. If they want it bad enough, they may break into the vehicle. It is usually an out of sight out of mind type of theft. Anything can help hide packages. A baby or emergency blanket, empty folded paper sacks, and car seat boosters are just a few suggestions.
If possible, have your pepper spray or stun gun ready in your hand, especially when walking to or from your vehicle. Beware of strangers approaching you. At any time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of attacking you, taking your money, or belongings.
Keep in mind that most thieves think differently than us. That is why they are thieves. They don’t think anything they do is wrong.
I handled a case where a thief had stolen a purse from the top of a car while the owner took packages into her residence. The victim’s car was parked in a carport, ten feet from the street, and three feet from the door of the owners single story apartment. The owner returned to her car soon enough to see the suspect’s car leaving and reported the description of it immediately. Luckily for her I found the thief, his vehicle, and her property a short time later.
The thief told me that it was his right to take the purse because the owner had left it in a visible and easy place for him. I tried several times to convince the thief that this was wrong. His reply was that if the owner didn’t want him to have it, she would have protected it.
I had many calls like this during my 40 years of Law Enforcement. If the thief didn’t give the answer of “I don’t know” when asked why he/she committed the crime, it was aways a similar answer to the above.
Don’t make it easy for a thief and they are most likely to move to easier pickings.
Have a great holiday season and be Safe out there!