With the Christmas Shopping season in full swing, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office is providing a few valuable safety tips to help our citizens prevent being the victim of a crime during the Christmas holiday shopping season. Each year we hear of our friends cars or homes being broken into or cars in shopping mall parking lots being broken into and Christmas gifts stolen. If the following safety tips are followed your chances of being a crime victim are significantly reduced.
Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
Dress casually and comfortably.
Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
Always carry your driver's license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
Keep cash in your front pocket.
Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
When approaching and leaving your vehicle be aware of your surroundings.
Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.