In the last post I shared some tips for Secure Online Holiday Shopping. In this post, I offer three tips you can use to make you Retail Holiday Shopping more secure and safe. Before you venture out to the mall, use these three personal security tips that just might make a big difference in keeping the ‘Merry’ in your Christmas. These tips come from the Rampartgroup.
- Leave a Communications Trail
If you choose to travel alone to the mall or retail shops, be sure to tell a friend or loved one so that someone close to you is aware and knows your location, arrival and departure time. Or, better yet, communicate your whereabouts, when you arrive and when you leave the location, via text message if you carry a mobile phone. This way, if you do not arrive back home at a reasonable time, your loved ones can contact the police and advise them of your last known location and time of last contact.
- Criminals Conduct Scoping Out Victims
Criminals need time to conduct surveillance on specific targets. When you arrive at the mall, the safest parking choice for you and your vehicle, although limited, is valet parking. When you choose to valet park your car you are not only freed up from having to locate that difficult parking space, but you also only have a short walk to enter the mall, thus giving criminals little opportunity to observe you. Plus, your car is parked close by where there is some degree of observation while you shop. If you cannot valet park, make every effort to park in a well-lit area of the parking lot, and preferably close to the mall or retail shop entrance. Again, limiting the distance required to enter the mall or retail store lessens the criminals’ surveillance time. And, most of all, don’t forget to lock your car! If you have packages from shopping at other retail stores, place them in the trunk of your car where there is no visibility or enticement for criminals to break in and steal.
- Be ALERT!
Be suspiciously aware and on a heightened alert to your surroundings from the time you get out of your car, throughout your shopping experience, the return to your car, and your drive home or back to the office. Don’t let your guard down until you are safely at home.
- If you carry a handbag, make sure it has a shoulder strap that can be placed diagonally across your body and cannot be easily knocked loose or snatched.
- Zip your bag and do not allow contents to be visible, and never leave your handbag in a shopping cart or on a counter unattended.
- If you carry a wallet, place it in a front pocket, rather than an open back pocket where it can easily be lifted.
- Don’t show large sums of cash at the checkout line. It only invites attention.
- Try to keep the number of shopping bags to a minimum. The more shopping bags you carry, the greater target you become – especially if you did not valet park and have to walk a distance to your parked car at the corner of the mall parking lot.
- If you have several bags in your hands and did not valet park, maintain your keys in one hand so that you do not have to place your bags on the ground to search a pocket or handbag for your keys.
- IMPORTANT! If your vehicle happens to be parked with a van next to it where your visibility to see inside the van is limited by tinted windows or full sliding doors, make sure you enter your vehicle from the side opposite the van. It is also best to enter your vehicle while others are in the parking lot and you are not alone.
- Store gifts in the car trunk and not the back seat where they are visible. This serves you well even if you are heading straight home and decide to make a quick stop at the grocery store.
- Listen, respond and trust your “inner voice” that warns you of danger, and promptly report any suspicious people or situations to security officers and/or the police.
Be safe with you Retail Holiday Shopping.