After a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with family and relatives, it seemed the TV was infiltrated with “Black Friday” advertisements, officially kicking off the holiday shopping season. Yes, it’s once again that time of year to shop for those we love the most. However, it’s also the same time that criminals and thieves kick things into high gear.

Unfortunately, criminals don’t take the holidays off. To the contrary, they understand that this is the time of year when we carry more cash, more valuables, and are distracted the most.

Yes, criminals love the holiday shopping season just as much as the most spirited shopper. While hard working people open up themselves in a generous way, criminals look at this as an advantage to make their move. However, it’s not that difficult to make yourself a “hard target” and still easily accomplish the holiday tasks at hand.

Be cautious when opening up your door to someone you don’t know during the holiday season. We get accustomed to even expect an unexpected “ring of the doorbell.” In doing so, we let our guard down and open up our defenses and place ourselves in a very vulnerable situation.

Give yourself plenty of time to ensure you take the necessary steps to protect your family and home from potential criminals. If at all possible, schedule your shopping time during the day. This will decrease (not eliminate) your chances of being a victim, due to the crowds of people out and about. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. Criminals would much rather confront a person alone compared to someone in a group.

Here are some safety steps you can take to make this holiday season a success:

  • Avoid wearing that expensive and attractive jewelry
  • Dress casually and comfortable
  • Try to avoid carrying purses or wallets in open view. If you “must” carry cash, keep large bills in a front pocket…not in a wallet or purse.
  • Be aware of your surroundings (Situational Awareness) and walk with confidence.  Never walk to your car while trying to search through the things you have purchased.
  • Keep plenty of space between yourself and other people (Survival Gap).  Be cautious of “con artists” distracting you, while their counterpart takes your money or belongings.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with a bunch of packages. Use a cart and keep your hands free as much as possible.
  • Scan at least 3 – 5 cars on each side of your car as you approach, looking for suspicious activity.  If something doesn’t look right, return to the store and have store security escort you back to your car.
  • Have your keys in hand well before you get to your car.  Immediately lock your car doors after you enter your car and keep them locked.
  • Keep your shopping gifts out of site (trunk)…never in the back seat. Even empty store bags invite someone to break into your car.
  • Finally, get proper training and carry an effective self defense product (Pepper Spray, Stun Gun, TASER, Handgun) in a place where you can easily get to it.

Be safe during this holiday season. Hopefully, it will be your best ever!

Your TSI Team