With Thanksgiving now over and Christmas just a month away, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has compiled a list of tips to help keep shoppers safe during the holidays.
“We are sure that a lot of you are ready to go through the store ads so you can plan your Black Friday shopping adventure,” stated MCSO on its Facebook page. The sheriff’s office encourages all Marion County shoppers to follow these safety tips:
- Avoid talking or texting on the phone while walking through a store or parking lot, since this could make you an easy target.
- Avoid taking a purse if you can put your ID, cash, and debit/credit cards in your front pockets – do not place these items in your back pockets. If you must bring a purse, consider a cross-body bag, which will make it more difficult for thieves to snatch your purse.
- Leave children at home, if possible, since being in large crowds can put children at risk of getting lost or kidnapped. Children tend to wander, so it can be safer to leave them at home with a trusted individual.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you must bring children with you, keep a close eye on them and do not let them wander away.
- Park as close to the store as possible and in a well-lit area of the parking lot.
- Carry your keys in your hand since they can be used as a weapon if needed.
- When traveling to different stores, place any packages and valuables in the trunk. Consider re-parking on the other side of the shopping center before going into the store since it gives the appearance that you are leaving (just in case someone is watching you).
- If you are bringing an expensive purchase to your vehicle, ask a store associate to walk with you.
- If you see someone lurking around your vehicle, hit the panic button, go back inside the store, and contact law enforcement.
- There is safety in numbers, so bring a friend or family member to join you on your shopping trip.
- Always lock your vehicle’s doors.
“While shopping can be fun, exciting, and exhausting, it should always be safe,” stated the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.