5 Tips to Stay Safe While Shopping
Do you know what to do if a store is being robbed? What’s the best way to avoid pickpockets and how can you protect your children from people who might want to take advantage of them? There are many things that shoppers should be aware of when they head out into the world during the holidays. This article will give you some helpful tips for staying safe as possible while shopping.
1) Watch your surroundings
Look around, especially near fire exits and entrances, before entering a store. Make sure no one suspicious is loitering outside or inside the doorways or in any other place where someone might wait for an opportunity to rob customers.
If you see someone suspicious, report them to the store manager or security team and do not enter the store. Police say that 90% of all robberies happen when a customer is distracted by something in their surroundings. For example, criminals may use distractions such as asking for help with an item (you look like you know what you’re talking about) or spilling something on your clothes (please come over here and let me clean it up). Customers should remain aware of where they are at all times while shopping. If necessary, make sure to ask a store employee if there is anything suspicious going on in the store before entering it: pickpockets often work in teams and will hand off their loot to associates waiting outside within seconds after stealing valuable items from customers.
2) Mind your wallet and purse
One of the main targets for pickpockets is a woman’s purse, so it’s best to keep it close – never leave it unattended, not even for a moment. Women should also be careful about using shopping carts that have exterior compartments. It just takes one or two seconds for someone to steal items from there and disappear into the crowd without ever getting caught. Customers should only use carts with covered compartments and never place their purses in these storage spaces: put them underneath (never inside) the cart or hold them firmly in your lap as you push the cart through the store. People who see this type of behavior may think that something is wrong with the purse or that it belongs to someone in your family.
3) Keep kids close
Children are also attractive targets for criminals, so you should know who is taking care of them when they are in public. Never let children out of your sight, even if you just have one child with you – checking in on them every few minutes will ensure their safety while shopping. You can use a stroller or buggy to keep your little ones safe, but pay attention when they are in these items: thieves may try to take children away from their parents if they think no one is watching. Finally, always keep an eye on backpacks and bags worn by older children; pickpockets love them because they make stealing easier and can hold more loot.
4) Keep your wallet in your front pocket
Most customers know to keep their valuables out of sight, but some still leave them in their back pockets. You should instead keep them on the front side of your body where you can see them at all times. This applies to wallets, purses and cell phones, which are often stolen by pickpockets who work alone or in groups. Even if you have a bag or purse with zippers, make sure that no one sets it down next to you while shopping – thieves will try to take anything valuable from there as well. If someone does ask if they can set something down next to you, say no and move away from that item immediately within seconds after asking permission, and watch to make sure that person doesn’t leave anything behind.
5) Don’t fight back
If a shoplifter or pickpocket approaches you in a store, don’t try to chase them down and apprehend them yourself – this is not safe. Instead, contact the police immediately with a description of the thief and the item they stole from you. If possible, also get information about where they went from there when they left your line of sight so the authorities can find them easier.