By: Jenn Cassetta
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us! Excitement is in the air, holiday lights are hung and retail is doing everything they can to entice us into their stores to buy gifts for all of our loved ones.
It’s easy to get distracted this time of year as we shop while still managing work and care for our families as well. Here are some safety strategies to help keep you aware and safe as you enjoy this joyous season.
Have a game plan
Before heading out to shop, make a list of what you need and make a game plan. This not only keeps us focused but it can also help keep you on budget. I can easily blow my budget on all the extra glittery stuff that I see and think I need, instead of focusing on the food or gift list that I need to buy. More importantly, lists help keep you focused on where you are going. Remember that predators are looking for vulnerable and distracted targets. When going from store to store or store to car, keep alert and walk with purpose to your next destination.
Avoid ATM machines
Try not to stop at a ATM machines during your shopping. Shop with plastic if possible to avoid pulling out wads of cash at the register. You never know who is watching!
Always keep at least one hand free
There’s no way you can even try to fight back against an attacker or protect your face if both hands are weighed down at your side holding shopping bags. Use a cross body bag as your purse to avoid being the victim of a robbery but remember to keep the actual bag in front of you and zipped. If you plan on buying a lot, perhaps look into using a backpack to stuff some goods into if you are in a city and will be walking around shopping.
In that free hand, you can carry a Mace Brand pepper spray while walking through parking garages, desolate parking lots, outdoor shopping malls and while getting into elevators. My favorite is the Exquisite polka dot purse pepper spray that looks just like a lipstick or perfume container. A pepper spray in hand keeps you more aware of your safety and can be used against a potential predator.
Cover your packages on public transportation
If you are taking public transportation to and from shopping keep all your goods covered. Don’t have expensive toys or fancy gifts hanging out of the bag to tempt would be thieves. If your list is lucky enough to get gifts from expensive designer stores, the branded shopping bags are dead giveaways that whatever is inside is going to cost a lot and therefore, can get a thief a nice payday on the black market. This is where it might again be handy to keep expensive gifts close to your body either in a backpack (securely zipped) or in a cross body bag.
If you live in more a suburban area and you’ll be driving from store to store or to the mall, your car is going to either be a source of safety or danger depending on the situation. As you head to your car in a parking garage or lot, keep eyes and ears alert and have your phone put away. Your focus should be on walking with purpose, checking out your car (inside, around and under) and getting into it as quickly and efficiently as possible and then locking the doors behind you. This acts as a safe boundary against any potential predator. I also keep an extra Mace Brand pepper spray on the side of my door of my car that I can easily grab, just in case!
Stay safe and enjoy your shopping!