- Be extra attentive when in parking lots and when backing up. Watch out for pedestrians and small children who are hard to see. Be aware of other vehicles that may speed through the lot or back out of other parking spots.
- Take note of where you park your vehicle by looking for signs identifying the location.
- Always lock your vehicle and have your vehicle alarm activated. The vast majority of vehicle break-ins reported to law enforcement do not involve forced entry — they occur to unlocked vehicles. Opportunistic thieves commonly pull on the door handles of multiple vehicles and only enter those that they find unlocked.
- When shopping, keep gifts in the trunk or hidden from view. Also, put all your packages in the trunk before departing one parking lot and driving to another.
- Please avoid storing firearms in your vehicle, as stolen firearms are often later used in violent crimes.
- During the day, park away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from car doors or shopping carts. At night, avoid secluded areas and park directly under lights whenever possible.
Inside the store:
- Use a credit card to avoid theft of cash, which is irreplaceable. And whenever possible, swipe your own credit card and cover the keypad when entering your personal identification number (PIN).
- Shopping with a single credit card is ideal. It is easier to cancel one credit card — rather than several — should your wallet or purse be stolen.
- Keep your purse zipped or closed and close to your body. Never leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart, as it will take just seconds for a thief to steal it.
- Keep a list of accounts and phone numbers for all of your credit cards in a safe place at home.
- If possible, carry keys, cash and credit cards separately from each other.
- For freedom of movement and clear visibility, do not overload yourself with bags when leaving a store and returning to your car. It is difficult to defend yourself when you are burdened with lots of packages.
- Only use automated teller machines — ATMs — in populated, well-lit locations.
- Remember, there is increased safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to ensure a more active parking lot. If you do not feel safe, ask security to walk you to your vehicle.
Traveling over the holidays:
- If you are traveling over the holidays, let trusted family members or neighbors know of your plans. Ask them to stop by your home and check on it regularly.
- Leave some exterior and interior lights on and, if possible, leave a vehicle in your driveway. Making it look like someone is home is an effective burglary deterrent.
- Call 911 immediately if you think something is wrong or you are in danger.