How to stay safe with Holiday Shopping this year

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY)- As the holiday shopping season is upon us, please take time to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season.


As you find time to shop, please be mindful of the following safety tips:

• Be aware of your surroundings. Look for suspicious persons, vehicles, etc. when you are on the parking lots and inside of a store or shopping mall. Criminals often travel throughout these areas looking for potential targets and/or victims. Report suspicious activity to your local police as well as loss prevention officers at the store/shopping mall.

• If shopping late in the day or after dark, park in a well-lighted areas. Keep in mind, if you are shopping at a mall, the time the store closes from which you enter the mall, as some stores close earlier than others. This may keep you from having to walk unnecessary distances to your vehicle if you find the store has closed earlier than you expected.

• Shop in pairs at the very least. Take a friend or family member shopping with you. There is something to be said for safety in numbers.

• As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand and use a remote if available to unlock your vehicle. Don’t hesitate to ask a store associate to walk you to your vehicle.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with checks, credit, charge or debit cards. Carry cash and wallets in a front pocket to reduce your chances of having your pocket picked. Keep purses secured to your person and not left unattended in a shopping cart.

• Don’t leave cell phones, purses, CD cases, GPS devices or any other item of value in your parked car where they can be seen. Always conceal these items.

• Don’t leave purchased merchandise in your parked car where it can be seen. Conceal these items in the trunk, under a cargo cover or make multiple trips if at all possible. Leaving large or bulky items in your vehicle for even a short amount of time increases your chances of becoming a victim.

• Remember where you parked your car. While this may seem obvious, many shopping areas are spread out over large areas. Being unable to locate a car can cause you undue confusion and stress that may present you as a better target to a criminal.

• While these steps don’t guarantee you will not become the victim of crime, they will hopefully reduce your chances of falling prey to a criminal.

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