Often times while on patrol or at the office, I am asked if I could write something on a particular issue of interest. This week, Sheriff’s Office Support Specialist Marie Martensen asked if I would give some suggestions on safety while shopping for gifts this holiday season. Here are some that I hope you will find useful.
• Avoid driving alone at night
• Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
• If you must shop at night, park in a well lit area.
• Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
• Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
• Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. Instead, put them in your trunk or place them out of sight.
• Be sure to locate your keys and have them in hand prior to going to your car.
• When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
• Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area
• Keep a secure hold onto your handbag and parcels.
• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member
• Dress casually and comfortably.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
• Keep cash in your front pocket
• Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
When shopping with children:
• If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
• Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
• Tell children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
• Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
• Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
• Teach children their full name, address and telephone (or cell phone) number to give to deputies or store security should they become lost.