Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Thea Wilkens-Reed (Homeschooled)
The season for giving is once again upon us, but not everyone has the best intentions.
So Christmas shoppers beware.
The increase in theft during the holidays is not something to be taken lightly. Increased shopping during the holiday season is a perfect reason for criminals to strike. They are constantly looking for shoppers to let their guard down.
Criminals often work alone or in teams. Teams or partners will work in groups to create a distraction. One person could be the bumper or the questioner, while the other snatches the goods.
We do not want your holidays spoiled by a few individuals, so here are a few holiday safety tips for you to keep in mind while shopping this holiday season. These tips are a few of my own from personal experiences as well as some from The Crime Prevention Blog.
1. The Crime Prevention Blog advises to not go from store to store and leave shopping bags, purses, cell-phones, CDs, videos or money on display in your car. It does not take long for someone to come by and smash your window and be gone with your valued belongings.
2. A small purse, strapped close to your body is probably your best bet. Leave non-essential items at home while out on your shopping forays.
3. Shopping in daylight hours and with friends is probably a safer bet. You can remind your companions to watch out for strangers and unusual activity as you walk through the store and back to the parking lot.
4. Do not be tempted to ever leave your wallet or purse on your car seat, even for the briefest moment. A great example is when you go to pay for fuel at the gas station. You only need to turn your head for a second and your personal item can disappear.
5. If you do find yourself shopping at night, be certain to choose a well-lit parking spot and be conscientious about locking your vehicle.
6. When you get home be sure you have pre-set your porch and carport lights to come on to deter criminal activity. It might also be a good idea to arrange with your neighbors to organize a “holiday neighborhood watch” as presents are starting to arrive under the tree, this is a perfect incentive for thieves to break-in and steal.
7. Dogs make great burglar alarms! Their barking will scare away curious eyes. Do not leave your animals inside vehicles while shopping.
8. If you choose to shop online and you see an offer that is too good to be true, then it probably is. The internet is a great way for people to scam and steal your identity without you having the faintest idea that is has happened, so be careful when purchasing online.
9. Never give your social security number to anyone while shopping. Valid merchants do not require it.
10. My final tip for you is simple; Do not let thieves ruin this joyous season of good will and generosity by making you their next crime victim. However if push comes to shove and you find yourself face to face with a weapon, surrender what is requested.
Go forth feeling empowered by these 10 simple tips. Keep your eyes and ears open so you can keep calm and shop on.