Here are five ways to keep yourself safe when you’re out shopping.

Since we’re now over the holiday rush and there’s time to resume our leisurely shopping activities, here are five tips to help keep you safe on your next shopping trip:

1. Be aware of your surroundings. Try to keep your head on a swivel. We recently had a safety workshop in our office, and the police officer said that they had caught one of the most successful criminal organizations in the area. The criminals would follow people around the mall; if they could follow a person into a couple of stores without that person making eye contact with them, they’d message their guys on the outside, give them a description of the person, and then they would be targeted for robbery. When you’re out and about, it’s okay to make eye contact with people. Every once in a while, be sure to look behind you too, just to let people know that you’re aware of what’s going on around you.

“While you’re shopping, and especially while you’re walking to your car, put the phone away.”

2. Never shop alone. There’s safety in numbers, and criminals know that it’s a lot harder to rob a group than a single person. Ask your spouse or friends to go out with you for a shopping day. It’ll be fun!

3. Put your phone away. Most people know not to text and drive, but I think we should start a new campaign to tell people not to text while shopping. If you have the phone to your ear or your eyes are glued to the screen while you text, you have no idea what’s going on around you—criminals are banking on that. While you’re shopping, and especially while you’re walking to your car, put the phone away. Chances are your call or text can wait.

4. Don’t carry a large purse. It’s easy for a criminal to just walk up behind you and slide your bag off your arm before taking off; it’s better to have a smaller bag that you can hold in your hand to have more control. 

5. Back into your driveway. When you get back to your house, try backing into your driveway. That way, you can see what’s happening on the street, and you’ll notice if anyone has been following you. We’ve noticed a big increase of criminal crews following people home from the store or mall, so be safe.

If you have questions about shopping safety or anything else, please feel free to give us a call.