Shopping? A Few Tips

When you head out to the mall or your favorite store, remember that purse snatchers are also shopping this season. Here are some ways to avoid being injured or robbed during the shopping season:

  • Dress appropriately. Avoid flashy jewelry which might attract unwanted attention.
  • Carry a clutch purse and not a shoulder purse. It’s much easier for a thief to grab or cut the purse when it’s hanging from your shoulder. If, on the other hand, it’s tucked under your arm, a thief is less likely to try to grab it. Men should carry their wallet in a front pant pocket.
  • Don’t flash large amounts of cash.
  • Never leave children in the car unattended while shopping. Keep your eyes on your children and make certain they are with you at all times.
  • Try not to carry too many packages.
  • Place all packages out of sight in your car, preferably in the trunk.
  • Keep your car doors locked and your windows shut.
  • Before you leave the house, decide on one credit card for use during this shopping trip and carry only that one. Better to have to replace a single card than to replace a dozen.
  • Park close to the security guard station if there is one in the mall of your choice. At night, park your car in a well lit area.
  • As you exit the store or mall, have your car keys ready. This will make for quicker entry into your car.
  • Keep your car doors locked and your windows shut.
  • Walk with someone and stay alert to people around you. If you have to walk alone, walk with confidence and avoid talking to strangers. If you need to ask directions, go into a public place.
  • Avoid shopping alone. Try to shop with a friend.
  • Know your surroundings. Keep an eye on people in front of you and behind you. Thieves also use the ruse of bumping into their victim so be careful. If you see someone coming your way make the best effort to avoid them even if it means going out of your way. If you are “accidentally” bumped, immediately check your wallet or purse.
  • Keep an eye out for slow-moving cars with their windows open. Purse snatchers often try to do drive-by robberies. If your purse is grabbed by someone in a car, let go as quickly as possible to avoid a serious fall and possibly being dragged on the pavement.
  • This may seem like a given, but we’ll say it anyway: Don’t leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart. Believe it or not, this continues to occur and it is an easy way to lose your money, credit cards, identification and family photos. Don’t chance it.
  • If you see anything suspicious or if something just doesn’t feel right, leave immediately and contact security or the police.
  • Being prepared to avoid trouble can make your shopping trip a lot more relaxing. So take care and have fun!

Home Safe

  • Lock all doors and windows. The best lock is only good when it is used.
  • While you are gone, make your home appear to be occupied.
  • Don’t display such items as Christmas trees and presents where they can easily be seen from a window or door. More than once, such displays have resulted in burglarized homes and stolen gifts.
  • If you have out-of-town guests, provide them with keys to your home. A door left unlocked for “Uncle Joe” can also be opened by a burglar.
  • If you are planning to be away during the holidays, tell your neighbors so that they can keep a watchful eye on your home. The West Palm Beach Police Department provides a courtesy house watch.