Staying Safe While Holiday Shopping
The holiday shopping season is just around the corner and soon you will be running to the mall along with thousands of other people. Some of those people won't be there to shop though. Some will be there to extract from you, the money and credit cards you are carrying to buy gifts for your loved ones. Even the most well-meaning shopper can absent-mindedly not be paying attention to their surroundings and fall victim to a crime. I know because it's happened to me, not once, but twice. Two times I was too preoccupied to more carefully plan out a walking route to a busy shopping area and two times I had money and credit cards stolen from me. That's all it took and now I know what I should and shouldn't do while shopping. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:
1) Park in a well-lit area of the mall and, if possible, stay away from the parking garages. They are too dark and too secluded so park in either well-lit areas or where you can be seen in plain sight of other shoppers, police or mall security.
2) If you are carrying a pocketbook, make sure it is held securely close to your body and that your bag has a zipper, which should be kept closed at all times. Walk with conviction if you are alone towards your destination.
3) Keep your cash and credit cards and identification in separate places so that if your wallet is taken, all the theif gets is your money. It's still a loss, but at least you don't have to go through the hassle of cancelling credit cards and replacing your ID.
4) Never walk towards a secluded mall entrance. This is one place I was robbed. Park close to large department store and walk through the store to get to the mall instead. The more light and people there are the less likely you will be a target.
5) When leaving the mall, have your keys ready so you don't have to fumble for them while you are walking towards your car. Again, when you look preoccupied with something else, you are an easier target for a theif.
6) If possible attach a whistle to your key ring. If you are being followed, you will scare off a potential thief just by blowing the whistle.
7) As soon as you get in your car, lock your doors and turn on the interior light to your car, until you are ready to pull away from the mall.
8) Shopping alone makes you more of a target for anyone looking to take your money or cause you harm. Try to shop with a friend if you can.