Summer time is here and where else can you spend a cool afternoon but at your local shopping malls. Here are just a few common sense safety tips that will help you make your summer shopping experience a bit safer.
Safety in Numbers
As always, it is a good idea to shop with friends or family when possible, particularly at night. The “buddy system” is most effect in deterring would be criminals from targeting victims. Safety in numbers is the name of the game.
When choosing a place to park, one should look for spaces near lighted areas and in plain view of the store and other shoppers. Criminals do not like to be seen by people or surveillance cameras. Have keys in hand and be ready to unlock and enter the vehicle swiftly with a plan to lock doors. If approached prior to getting in your vehicle, change directions and head back to an area where others can be alerted.
Be observant, alert. Upon arrival and prior to exiting your vehicle, take the time to look around. If you see someone loitering, be suspicious and do not hesitate to report the activity to police, store security or other employees. When exiting the store, pause for just a few seconds near the doorway and look around. If there is someone waiting for a potential victim, they are likely waiting in the wings for the opportunity to swoop by and snatch a purse from the unsuspecting customer. If you see someone that just doesn’t fit the scene or makes you uneasy, go back inside and report it to someone. Trust your instincts!
When in doubt about the surroundings, ask for a store employee or security to escort you to your car. There is no shame in asking for assistance and stores are generally happy to do it.
Purses & Valuables
What’s in your purse? One should consider reviewing what valuables are kept in the purse. Only those items essential to your shopping trip should make the trip. Far too often the victim has a multitude of credits cards, cash and various forms of I.D. Try trimming back on these items to minimize the potential loss and risk of identity theft. If you must carry a purse, wear it high on the shoulder and when possible, conceal it from view with a jacket or sweater drawn over it. It’s harder to steal what can’t be seen or isn’t there.
Have A Plan
In the event someone does take your purse, don’t fight over it or give chase. Being injured is not worth the replaceable contents of your purse. Should this happen, make lots of noise, scream and yell help, thief. Point in the direction of the suspect, but do not give chase, again the danger outweighs the loss of item. Try to obtain a complete description of the suspect, vehicles and direction of travel and write it down. This will assist law enforcement in catching the bad guys and the recovering loss. Of course, go back into the nearest place of safety and call police immediately via 9-1-1. If dialing from a cell phone, it is best to have the Police Department’s direct number programmed into your phone. This will save time, as most cell phone 9-1-1 calls must be rerouted to the appropriate agency.
Pasadena Police Dispatch Non-Emergency Line (626) 744-4241.