HPD offers some holiday shopping tips to protect yourself

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

This Holiday Season, protect yourself, your family and your property against criminals wishing to do you harm. Criminals have a “desire” to commit crimes against those who are not aware of what is going on around them. The holidays are an opportune time for a criminal to commit these offenses. Know your surroundings and don’t become a “target.” It’s up to YOU to make sure that a criminal does not have the “opportunity” to take advantage of you and your family.

While Shopping:

  • Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
  • Shop with a friend; there is safety in numbers.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check, credit, or debit card.
  • If possible, carry only your drivers license, personal checks, or necessary credit or debit cards.
  • If you must carry a purse, do not wrap the straps around your arms or shoulders. You could risk injury from a would-be purse snatcher. Carry a clutch purse tightly under your arm or wear a fanny pack.
  • Do not carry wallets in a back pocket. It should be placed in a front pocket for safety
  • Be alert, criminals look for the “high dollar store” shopping bags with your purchases. When possible, slip bags/purchases in a plain nondescript bag.
  • Watch purchases while eating in mall food courts; bags as well as purses can easily be switched or taken.

In Parking Lots:

  • Shop early and leave early to avoid evening darkness.
  • Park in a high visibility area and check for lighting in case you leave during the hours of darkness.
  • DO NOT park next to a vehicle with dark tinted windows. Waiting assailants can be obscured from view upon your return.
  • Before shopping, lock all your valuables in the trunk prior to parking in the parking lot.
  • Leave the store with a group of people, not alone.
  • Ask the Security Officer to escort you to your vehicle if you are uncomfortable.
  • Walk briskly, confidently, and directly through the parking lot. Be cautious of people handing out fliers or asking questions in the parking area.
  • Watch for people who may be following you. This can occur inside as well as outside the store. If you suspect that you are being followed, report it to the store or mall Security. Report it immediately.