So, since it certainly isn't frugal to be robbed, or to deal with a smashed-out car window, here are a few safety tips for holiday shopping:
- When you park, roll up your windows, lock your car and take your keys with you.
- Always park in a well-lit area, close to the store or mall's front doors.
- Lock valuables and purchases in the trunk or cover them up so they can't be seen. This includes backpacks, GPS units and MP3 players. (It's not always possible, but consider single-store trips so you don't have multiple packages sitting in your vehicle unattended.)
- Shop during the day if possible, or take someone with you. (Maybe not the kids ...)
- Don't carry a lot of cash or many credit cards. Don't wear a lot of jewelry. Don't carry a purse or bag unless necessary. Keep your wallet in a front pocket.
- When paying, be discreet. Don't display the contents of your wallet.
- Have your car keys in hand when you leave the store.
- Look inside and under your car before you unlock the doors and get in, and lock them right away after you shut the door.
- Be aware of your surroundings both inside and outside the store. Look around before loading packages into your vehicle. If anything seems amiss, go back into the store and tell security, or call police.
- Visit ATM's only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible. Using the drive-up is usually safer.
- If you see someone hanging around the area (on foot or in a car) leave the area.
Various sources, including Peoria, Ill., police; University of Oklahoma