12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 4: Mall Safety Tips

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12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 4: Mall Safety Tips

The last few years I have done most of my holiday shopping online. But for those who like to go to the Mall, let me remind you about some important Mall Safety Tips as you head out to the thief target area (better known to the rest of us as the shopping mall).

Holiday season is also prime time for thieves. People are buying expensive items, they are buying lots of items, they are often distracted, and there are big crowds that make it easy to blend in and hid before and after they strike. Have you noticed extra police presence, or those “eye in the sky” elevated lookout posts the police put in mall parking lots? There is a reason for that! They know the thieves are out.

The first thing you must do to keep yourself safe is to be alert and aware of your surroundings. It may sound trite, and it may also sound paranoid. But most of us have a built in radar. We notice things that seem questionable. When that happens, do NOT ignore the feeling. If you are in your car, don’t get out. Drive away. You will find another parking spot, preferably on the other side of the mall. If you are walking out of the mall to your car, and something does not feel right, turn around and go back inside. Find an info kiosks (many malls have them) and tell them something made you feel uncomfortable when you were headed to your car. They will often send a private security officer to your car with you, or have an outside patrol go to the area. Try to note the area of the lot you parked in (look for signs with letters, names, or numbers) so that you can give an accurate report.

When you are returning to your car with your packages, look around carefully as you are walking. Is there anyone lingering around your car? Is there a panel van parked right next to you? If so, follow my advice about returning inside. If you don’t see any threats, when you arrive at your car, put your packages in the vehicle quickly, get in, and drive away. Don’t bend over into your car or your trunk where you cannot see what is going on around you. Drive to another area of the parking lot, and then get out and rearrange your packages if need be.

When you leave the mall, notice the cars behind you. Thieves have been known to pick a target at a mall and follow them home. If a car seems to be following you, find a place to make a u-turn. Or turn onto a residential street, drive over a street a two, and then return to the main road. If the other car is still there, that is a red flag. Drive to a heavily populated area… or a police station. Do not go home until you are convinced you are not being followed.

The key is not putting yourself in a vulnerable situation. Ninety percent of that battle is awareness of your surroundings. Keep your eyes open and listen to your instincts. Even if it takes a few extra minutes or adds a little inconvenience, staying safe is worth the extra effort!

 

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Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.

 

photo credit: keerthi via photopin cc

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