Christmas shopping safety tipsDecember 6, 2023
As area residents head to shopping malls and outdoor shopping areas focused on finding the perfect holiday gifts, they are reminded by the Perrysburg Township Police Department that crime does not take a holiday. Across the country, law enforcement reports increased with shoppers thinking less about shopping safety and more about buying presents.
Indoor and outdoor safety is especially important at shopping centers this season. It’s never possible to completely eliminate the risk of being a victim, but being aware of your surroundings and choosing to shop at retail outlets that take security seriously are important things you can do to help protect yourself and family.
To make shopping safer this season, here are some tips:
- Shop during the day when possible. If shopping at night, park in a well-lit area close to your destination. Leave your engine running until you are ready to exit the vehicle.
- Check your surroundings to make sure they look safe before you get out of your vehicle. Don’t leave your valuables or purchased gifts in plain view; lock them in your trunk.
- If you feel uncomfortable walking to your car at night, ask mall security officers for an escort. Consider valet parking.
- Choose to do your holiday shopping at malls that take security seriously. Shopping destinations with regular mall security patrols and visible surveillance cameras provide an added layer of safety and are a deterrent to criminals.
- Avoid using restrooms that are tucked away in a back area. If you can, find a restroom near the mall’s food court or other well-trafficked area and always accompany your child.
- Do not overload yourself with packages. Thieves are always on the lookout for people who might be distracted. Keep track of your packages and try to stay off your cellphone.
- Hold your purse close to your body or use a front pocket if carrying a wallet. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Always know where the closest exits are located. In case of a fire, active shooter or other emergency, make sure you can find the nearest exits and remember to avoid using elevators in an emergency.
- Have a preset place to meet in case you get separated. Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they ever get separated from you in a store or mall.
- Take extra care when returning to your car. If you notice anyone suspicious in the parking area, turn around and go back into the store. Remember you can use your keys as a weapon.
- If needed, you can use your car’s alarm system by pushing the panic button on your alarm remote control or car horn to draw attention.
- Before getting inside your vehicle, check the front and back seats to make sure no one is hiding. Lock your doors immediately upon entering your vehicle.
- Additionally, in the event of an active shooter situation, remember to “Run, Hide, Fight.”
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