It’s that time of year again. Shoppers will be hitting the stores and malls with giving on their minds. It’s one of the busiest times of the year for everyone, especially criminals.
Prepare yourself for the holidays by familiarizing yourself with some basic crime prevention tips to help minimize your chances of being victimized during the busy holiday season.

  • Be aware of the people around you. Some of them are out to commit crimes. Don’t be easily distracted; know where your shopping bags, packages, and/or other personal items are at all times. If you carry a purse or handbag, make sure not to leave them unattended. Keep an eye on your purchases.
  • Always keep a hand on your wallet or purse. Many purses are stolen out of shopping carts when an unsuspecting shopper turns her back or walks away from the cart momentarily. If your purse or wallet is stolen, you need to call your credit card companies and the bank immediately. Thieves do the most damage in the first couple of hours after stealing these items.
  • Avoid shopping alone. Take a friend or a relative to help you carry bags and/or packages.
  • Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
  • When walking back to your automobile, have your lock key ready. Avoid having to look for it in your handbag. When parking, try to park near or as close to the entrance to the store as possible.
  • Check the back seat, under and around the car before getting in.
  • Do not leave shopping bags exposed in your car while unattended.
  • If you think are you being followed, drive to a public place or a police, sheriff, or fire station.

Most thieves pick out their targets before committing a crime. They don’t want to get caught so they choose victims that aren’t paying attention and may not notice something missing from a purse or packages. Criminals don’t like to be noticed or remembered. They may decide against the person who has looked at them and said hello and move on to someone who is not as aware.

Holidays are a fun time of year, but can be disaster for the victims of crime. Be aware this Christmas and reduce your chances of being a victim. Don’t give these bad guys the opportunity to steal from you. Be aware of your surroundings and vigilant about your personal safety and security.

Most of all – have a great holiday season.

Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. wishes to thank the Washington County Oregon Sheriff’s Office for sharing this article.