Patrols increasing at area shopping centers |

Patrols increasing at area shopping centers

Staff Report

The Carson City Sheriff’s Department will begin “Operation Safe Holiday” to increase patrols of parking lots at shopping centers in an effort to thwart thieves bent on victimizing holiday shoppers.

“While many of us begin preparing for the upcoming holidays there are criminals who try to take advantage of people and their generosity,” said Sgt. Brian Humphrey in a news release. “We would like to remind our community to remain safe and aware of their surroundings.”

Beginning next week and running through year’s end, shoppers will see an increased patrol presence Humphrey said.

“We (also) want to encourage the public to report any suspicious activity they see in the parking lots of the shopping centers, in and around vehicles, and in their neighborhoods.”

Residents are asked to put the dispatch center’s non-emergency number 887-2007 in their cell phones if they wish to report suspicious activity. For emergencies, still use 911.

Humphrey offered the following safety tips for shoppers this holiday season:

– Lock your car and make sure you have a spare key.

– Take only one credit/debit card, if possible. Do not take large amounts of cash, a checkbook or a large handbag. It is best if you carry your credit cards, cash and checks in your front pocket. This will lessen the chance of them being lost or stolen. It would be a good idea to make a copy of all of your credit cards and important papers you carry in your wallet. Leave it in a secure place at home. If your wallet is lost or stolen, report all missing credits cards to your credit card company and notify the Sheriff’s Department immediately.

– Be aware of your surroundings. Do not overload yourself with packages.

– Look around as you walk to the parking lot. Do not leave packages out in the open in your car. Lock all packages in your trunk. Try to park in a well-lit area of the parking lot and stay out of desolate areas.

– Try to avoid shopping alone, especially at night. There is safety in numbers.

– When parking your car, be courteous and do not park in fire lanes and handicapped parking spaces. These are violations of state and local law, and you could be cited.

– Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.

– Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells or cars with tinted windows.

– 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.

– Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.

– Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.

– When approaching and leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.

– Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.

– Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.

– If you must use an ATM, choose one that is inside a mall or in a well-lit location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.

– Protect your password by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.

– Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

– Always carry your Nevada driver’s license or identification card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.

– Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

– Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

– If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted baby sitter.

– Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.

– Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.

– 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 number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.