“The holiday season is right around the corner and shoppers are crowding malls, shopping centers and discount stores to buy the latest gadgets and find the best deals,” said Anson County Sheriff Tommy Allen.
But sometimes shoppers are neglecting their safety according to the sheriff. “This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours,” he said. “These factors and the usual distraction of shopping, creates a more favorable environment for thieves and other offenders.”
Sheriff Allen reminds all Anson County residents to follow these safety tips:
· A single shopper is the best target for theft. Always shop with a friend or relative.
· When going shopping, tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to return. Also, make sure they know what you are wearing, as well as the type of vehicle you are driving.
· Shop during daylight hours. If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
· Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. If carrying cash, keep it in a pocket rather than in a purse or wallet. This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove. Also store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket. If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.
· Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
· When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat. Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.
· If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.
· Store purchased items in a trunk or back storage area of SUVs where they cannot be seen.
More shopping safety tips can be found on the Sheriff’s web page at: ansonsheriff.com, including tips about gift cards as well as using credit cards. Sheriff Allen warns shoppers to be careful so that they don’t become the victim of criminal activity.
“Unfortunately, when shopping, people have a tendency to let their guard down. However, paying attention and taking precautions can help reduce their chances of being a victim,” Sheriff Allen said.
The Anson County Sheriff’s Office wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.