Before You Shop
Avoid carrying a purse. If you must carry a purse, carry it close to the body and always closed or zippered. Use a "fanny pack" or deep pockets in clothing to carry what you need. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card whenever possible. Carry your keys, cash, and credit cards separate from each other; and be aware of your surroundings at all times. To help consolidate your packages - use a shopping bag. If you are not sure that a shopping bag will be available to you, take one of your own to the store, mall, or shopping center.
Be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you see people "hanging around" in parking garages, parking lots, or outside of stores avoid the area. Notify the police or store security department. Shop before dark if possible. Coordinate shopping trips with a friend if you plan to be out late. Never park your car in an unlit area, no matter how convenient it is. Make sure you know the exact location where you parked your car. Make a mental note or write the location down so you will know exactly where to go when you leave the store. Lock your car doors and windows even if you are only gone for a few minutes. Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard to ask for help if they should become separated from you in a store or shopping mall. They should never go into a parking lot alone.
Leave the mall/store well before closing time. This way, there is greater assurance you will walk out with other people. There really is "safety in numbers". Avoid fatigue. You are more alert when you are less tired. When hurried or in a crowded shop, make sure you get all forms of I.D. and credit cards returned to you before you leave. Use an escort or mall security if you have too many packages or if you are leaving the store after closing. Check underneath your car as you approach it. This is a common ploy of criminals in parking lots and they will take you by surprise. Have your keys in hand, and remember to check the interior of your vehicle before you unlock the door to get in. When going from store to store, keep all packages stored out of sight in the trunk of your car.
Be extra cautious about locking your doors and windows at all times. Don't display gifts or other valuables where they can easily been seen from a window or doorway. After opening gifts make sure to breakdown cardboard boxes of expensive electronic and fancy stores, put them in plastic bags to hide the fact that you have valuable items in your home. If you go out in the evening, turn on your house lights, radio, or television so the house looks occupied.
Beware of package deliveries where couriers have the "wrong" address. Write down the tag numbers of suspicious delivery attempts. If you go on vacation, get an automatic timer for your lights. Ask a neighbor or trusted friend to watch your house, pick up your mail, newspapers, and park their car in your driveway from time to time.