Holidays Vivian | 07 Jun 2011 06:39 pm

Shopping this Holiday Season ?Safety in Mind

Fa-la-la-la-la—la-la-la-la! Everyone’s decking the halls and ‘tissing the season… except that niggling memory that with the joy of the holidays comes the increase of crime, hence the bursting of that safe, secure bubble we enjoy the remaining eleven months of the year.

It is true that crime rates increase during the holidays, but we have family to see, parties to attend, and shopping to do! Which is exactly what would-be criminals thrive on. No, not the families, parties and shopping… they thrive on the distraction of them.

So, what’s a holiday-loving gal or guy to do? Well, first of all, be mindful of your surroundings. Observe. Know where people are, how they are dressed and what they are doing. Always know what and where you and your belongings are (including those little munchkins that want to see Santa!).

Oh, and don’t forget these Holiday Shopping Tips:

Shop with the sun, friends and family. Try not to shop after dark when visibility is low, and when that’s not possible – at least don’t shop alone. There is strength in numbers, and most criminals prefer a lonely, defenseless subject over a group.

Be prepared. Have a self-defense plan or reaction plan. This could be a charged cell phone (or even a flash light!) [], Kubaton or a Pepper Spray [] Key Chain – keep them handy and be ready to use them. Don’t carry large amounts of cash, and rather than using a pocketbook or wallet, store cash and credit cards securely in a pants pocket.

Don’t attract attention. Leave your jewelry safely at home (it’s a good time to clean your jewelry for that holiday party, so leave it in the ultra sonic cleaner while you shop). Never display all your credit cards or cash, but keep them safely hidden as best you can, even during a transaction when you’re tempted to pull out your cards or cash and search through them.

Be cautious, not tempting. Look around, but be confident and know where you’re going. Hold your pocketbook close, keep your cash, credit cards or wallet in a front or buttoned pocket, and place valuable packages closest to your body.

Don’t display your private information. Don’t create a key ring out of your ID! Keep your license number, license plate number, address and other personal information hidden and protected. Try maintaining this information as a nondescript text message or a contact, such as ‘Kitty’s Bakery”, on your cell phone. If you don’t have a cell phone, or you prefer, write on the back of a picture in your wallet.

This is by far not an all-inclusive list, but should serve as a reminder that we have the ability to reduce our chances, or possibly even prevent becoming a victim of holiday crime.

Your best defense may be as simple as being aware. Be aware of your surroundings, your belongings and bystanders. Think about vulnerable areas, take action to keep safe, and focus on getting the most out of your holiday family-time, party-time and shopping-time this season!

FBI Crime Rate statistics indicate that 1 out of every 25 people were a victim of crime in 2004. I’m not sure what the statistics will be for 2006, but let’s not be that 4% of the population this year.

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