Tips offered for safer shopping

December 19, 2012

Crime victims make it into headlines more and more often during the Christmas season. How can you and your family members avoid becoming just another sad statistic?

Sergeant Chris Brichetto of the Granbury Police Department emphasized that it’s important not to let your guard down to potential danger.

“This is a perfect time for crime because everyone is out buying gifts, in and out of their vehicles, carrying extra cash,” Brichetto said. “The stores are crowded with people, and we are distracted by the festive atmosphere.”

Hood County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Johnny Rose said to trust your instincts, and “act accordingly.” That includes placing a phone call to law enforcement when you see suspicious activity – which he defined as activity that can’t be explained.

“If something doesn’t seem right, retreat and get help,” Rose said. “Don’t become distracted by loading packages and miss a life-saving clue that someone is watching you.”

Brichetto provided the following list of ways to make it less likely you will become a victim during this otherwise happy time of year:

Lock all of your valuables in the trunk.

Park in well-lighted areas.

Close all your vehicle’s windows and make sure the doors are locked.

If you see someone looking into vehicles or acting suspiciously, notify the police.

When walking back to your vehicle, have your keys in your hand and ready.

Always try to shop with someone.

Don’t be so distracted by your shopping that you don’t stay alert. Be aware of who and what is around you.

Never leave your bag, wallet or purse unattended.

Don’t leave your purse in the child seat of a shopping cart, open for everyone to see what you have.

Even if you’re stepping away from your vehicle or shopping cart for “just a minute,” take your valuables with you.

Don’t keep large amounts of money.

Rose’s list also started off advising shoppers to keep their packages in the trunk (or cover them up in the back seat), along with these additional suggestions:

If you have a GPS, set the Hood County Sheriff’s Office as your home address so that if it’s stolen the criminal won’t know where you live and be able to victimize you again.

When pushing a shopping cart, ladies should hold on to the staps of their purse along with the cart handle.

Keep your purse zipped and in your sight at all times. It only takes a moment to lose your wallet or phone. Use a pass code on your phone.

Pay with cash at new shopping locations to prevent identity theft.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

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