It is officially that time of year again. And while many of you may be situational awareness experts or exclusively on-line shoppers, you surely know someone who can benefit from these tips.

Encourage your friends and family to work these practices into their holiday repertoire.

  • Shopping at night is often unavoidable given the abbreviated daylight hours at this time of year. When out in the evening, only park in well-lit areas in close proximity to your destination.
  • Avoid parking next to vans and vehicles with darkly tinted windows.
  • Store any packages securely in the trunk of your car and not in plain sight.
  • Ask security for an escort to your vehicle—especially if you are loaded down with packages and your hands are not free. If an establishment does not have security, drive your car to the entrance and have a clerk assist with the loading of your packages.
  • Locate your keys prior to leaving the store. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. This means no talking or texting as you enter and exit a store. Make note of where you are parking.
  • Do not approach your vehicle alone if there are others loitering in the parking lot.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and watches. Often times thieves target individuals wearing such items in a store and follow them home to rob them as the unsuspecting individual is unloading their packages.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash.
  • When possible, leave small children at home with a caregiver.
  • Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
  • Teach your child to go to a check-out station and ask a clerk to page you in the event you are separated.
  • Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.

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