With the holiday season here and Christmas less than two weeks away, malls and shopping centers are busier than ever. Although safety should be your primary concern at all times, this time of year is the perfect time to take a few extra moments to think about your personal safety when shopping.
Here’s a list of simple tips to stay safe during the last two weeks of the holiday season:
- Shop during daylight hours. Crimes are more likely to happen in the evenings or at night, so shop during the day when possible. Crimes against women are also more likely to happen to women who are alone, so if you absolutely must shop at night, shop with a family member or friend.
- Dress casually. Minimizing the amount of attention you draw to yourself maximizes your safety. By dressing conspicuously, wearing fancy clothing and expensive jewelry, you are more likely to be the victim of an attack. When you’re shopping this holiday season, be sure to leave expensive jewelry at home. Also be sure to wear comfortable shoes, so you can run for help, if needed, without tripping over your stilettos.
- Don’t carry a purse if you don’t have to. The best way to avoid having your purse stolen is to leave it at home. If you can fit your driver’s license, credit cards, and other necessary belongings in your pants pocket, you’ll minimize your risk of theft. If you have to carry a purse, the best type to carry is a bag with a long shoulder strip that can fit across your body, as these are more difficult for muggers to steal.
- Don’t use cash. The safest way to pay for holiday purchases is with a credit card. Cash can be easily stolen, and, in case of fraud, credit cards are the easiest form of payment to dispute. If you must carry cash, only take what you need and try to be discreet when paying.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious, alert a mall security guard. If you feel uncomfortable walking to your car, don’t be afraid to ask the security guard to escort you to your vehicle.