In those last heady days before the holidays and during the first few weeks after the holidays are over (when everybody is making returns or scouring for sales), you’ll probably find yourself doing a little shopping somewhere.
This is a prime time of the year for robberies (and worse) since thieves are watching for distracted shoppers wherever they go. Just don’t let down your guard. Here are a few tips that can help you and your loved ones stay safe:
Watch what you wear and what you carry
The last thing you want to do is look like an easy – or wealthy – target. Don’t carry a lot of cash or wear flashy jewelry. If you take a purse or a bag, choose a cross-body variety that’s harder for someone to grab off you.
Don’t let yourself get distracted while you’re out
Put your phone in your pocket and leave it there until you finish conducting your business. If your head is down and you’re distracted, that makes you the perfect target for someone who wants to cause trouble. Stay alert and stay aware of your surroundings.
Be deliberate about your actions when you head to the car
Have your keys in your hand before you leave the store, look around before you approach your vehicle to make sure nobody is lurking nearby, and lock your car doors the moment you get inside.
Ask security to walk you to your car after dark, or if you’re nervous
Is it dark out? Did you spot someone just hanging out in the parking garage for no apparent reason? Ask the store to have someone walk you to your car. Store owners and managers have a certain duty to make sure that the premises are safe for their customers – and that includes parking areas.
If you’re robbed, car-jacked or assaulted while shopping around the holidays, you may be able to hold the store where it happened accountable for your losses through a premises liability claim. Learning more about your legal options can help you decide what steps to take next.