The holiday season has arrived!
Although holidays are seen as a time for giving, criminals view the holiday season as a time for taking. Shoppers can be vulnerable to crimes such as theft, robbery, and assault. Follow these tips to decrease your chances of becoming a victim:
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times: Knowing who and what is around you can help you avoid being surprised. It also allows you time to react if something appears suspicious.
- Display Confidence: Criminals choose the victim who looks like the easiest target. If you walk with purpose, scan the area around you, and make casual eye contact with others, you are displaying confidence.
- Trust your instincts: Your body will tell you when someone or something is suspicious. If you have an intuitive feeling something is wrong, do not second-guess yourself.
- Carry only what you need: Extra cash, credit cards, checks, jewelry, and other items should be left at home. If you carry a purse, keep it small, in front, and close to your body. Men should keep wallets in their front pockets to avoid pickpocketing. Never leave your purse or wallet in a shopping cart.
- Shop with others: The chance of being victimized drops dramatically when you are with at least one other person. Use the buddy system!
- Be prepared: Have your keys in hand when walking to your vehicle. The keys can be used to defend yourself and you will not waste time trying to find them when standing outside of your vehicle. Carry a whistle to alert those around you when something is wrong.
- Plan ahead while parking: Park in well-lit areas close to store and building entrances. Keep all doors and windows closed and keep your vehicle locked. Do not leave valuables visible in your vehicle! If you must return to your car while shopping, put your bags in the trunk and move your car to a different location.
Thank you to the Aiken Department of Public Safety for these tips and recommendations. Remember, if you’re experiencing an energy, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.