Every year around this time, it’s helpful to revisit a few holiday shopping safety tips.
Holiday shopping is a pleasurable experience (most of the time). It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding the perfect gift, the thrill of a great bargain or the enjoyment of a meal to refuel and shop more.
But it is important to never let your guard down during the entire process.
“We know the holiday season means more people will be shopping,” says Officer Bob Phelps of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s University City Division One.
Never miss a local story.
So, on behalf of the police department, Phelps offered the following list of holiday shopping safety tips:
• Be aware of your surroundings; look side to side.
• When loading your car, be extra careful and store the items in the trunk and lock it. Don’t place your items inside the car in plain sight. Car break-ins are up right now.
• When you leave one shopping site, it’s best to load items into your trunk immediately. Try not to load your trunk right before you enter another store; you never know who is watching.
• Always be alert and walk with authority.
• As you walk to your car, have your car keys in hand. They can also serve as a weapon. Check the front and back seat of your car before you get in it
• It also can be helpful to have your cell phone out, prepared to call 911 if necessary.
• Don’t get so involved in a cell phone call that you forget to check your surroundings.
• If someone approaches you, honk your horn to get attention. People with bad intentions don’t want to draw attention; they will usually take off.
• Shop in groups of two or more people to reduce the chance of being victimized.
• Trust your instincts. If you feel endangered, leave the area. Go back into the store and ask for an escort from store/mall security if necessary.
• Lock your car doors and roll up your windows.
• Never leave your cell phone, purse, cash or coins in your car in plain sight.
• Park in well-lit areas or high-traffic areas.
According to the November issue of “On the Beat,” the CMPD Response Area monthly newsletter, there has been a recent rash of delivery package thefts in some University City neighborhoods.
If you shop online and have packages delivered to your home, CMPD offers the following tips:
• Try to be home or have someone available to accept the delivery for you.
• If necessary, have your package delivered to a neighbor who will be home.
• Make a request to pick up your package at the post office or store location.
• Have your package delivered to your office, if that is allowed.
• Purchase delivery insurance.
• Require signature upon delivery. Always get a tracking number.
• Request vacation hold when needed.
• Call 911 if you see suspicious activity, such as a car following delivery trucks.
CMPD has other safety tips for holiday safety at home, at the bank machine and much more.
Get the detailed list of holiday-related safety tips by going to www.CMPD.org. Click on “For Your Safety,” then click on “Safety Prevention Tips.”
If you would like to invite a CMPD community coordinator to your University City neighborhood to talk about holiday shopping safety tips, contact the University City Division by calling 704-432-3900.