You’ve all heard or seen the warnings every year informing everyone to be aware that their cars are often a target during the holiday shopping season. Any would-be thief knows that there is a good chance your vehicle has plenty of valuable offerings from your own personal items to all those purchases soon to be heartwarming gifts. Only adding to vulnerability, the sun has gone to bed by around 5:30 p.m. Just in time for you to get off work and head to the stores. Adopting the following tips can help keep yourself, your car and your belongings safer so that you can simply enjoy the holidays.
Remove ice or snow from windows and roof before heading out so that you aren’t forced to take care of winter woes in a parking lot.
Park in areas that are well lit. If possible, park in a spot that puts the driver’s door in direct sight of the store.
Create a way to be sure you can remember where you parked. Look at the store signage before you get out of the car to see what you can reference to find your car when you get back out. For instance, if a store has named sections such as grocery, pharmacy, coffee, entrance- remember which one you’re car is parked near. Or look at the name of the store “THE SAVINGS STORE”, remember which letters or word you are closest to. For large parking lots or garages, take a photo of the nearest lot/row sign. There are also downloadable apps for your smartphone to help you locate your car such as Find My Car Smarter and Anchor Pointer.
Don’t leave valuables or shopping bags in plain sight. Put purchases in the trunk.
Don’t leave the vehicle running when you aren’t in it. A running vehicle is an invitation for theft.
Obviously, lock the doors and make sure all windows are rolled up! Take a few seconds before getting out of your vehicle to get focused- being in a rush can make us forget even the simplest things such as making sure the doors are locked.
Keep your phone easily accessible, however stay vigilant, undistracted and be obviously aware of your surroundings. Make eye contact with those you pass as you enter and leave the store.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Keep your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket. Don’t let purses or bags hang where they can easily be grabbed.
Have your keys in your hand before you leave the store. Most key remotes only unlock the drivers side door with the first unlock click. If shopping alone, don’t unlock all doors.
When possible, don’t shop alone. Having someone with you can significantly reduce the likelihood of you being robbed.
All the while you are protecting yourself keep an eye out for others and call 911 immediately if you see a crime occurring. With all these valuable tips in mind everyone can be a little safer during the hustle and bustle of the greatest shopping months of the year! Happy & Safe Shopping!
Blog by: Allison Green