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Column: Be safe while shopping
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As the holiday shopping season approaches, so does the potential for crime. Trips to the mall and stores are inevitable, and unfortunately so is the threat of holiday theft.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for most people, and this can lead to being careless and making yourself vulnerable to thefts and other holiday crime. While you shop in the stores for your gifts, criminals do their shopping from packages left in plain view in parked vehicles. Criminals also look for potential victims to hold up in parking lots.
These five safety tips can help you prevent becoming a victim and staying safe this holiday season:
1. When out shopping, look for well-lit parking areas. Once your car is parked, be mindful of the area around your vehicle. If anyone is loitering near your vehicle, remain inside and watch for a few minutes. If they walk on, that’s fine. If not, you may consider moving to a different parking area or spot. If you feel unsafe about a certain situation, then take steps to move to a safer area. Don’t assume you are being foolish or paranoid.
2. Lock your vehicle and move quickly and confidently to the store. Would-be thieves and robbers are looking for the easiest targets. If you appear confident and aware of your surroundings, you are less likely to become a victim. Remember: Awareness is your best defense.
3. Don’t search through a purse or bags in the parking lot. If you must look for something, make sure you are in the safety of a store or your vehicle.
4. If you take items to your vehicle and return to store or mall to shop, make sure bags and packages are covered or concealed from public view. It’s a good idea to place such items in the trunk.
5. When leaving late from store, ensure you travel with others nearby.
And don’t forget: Be aware of your surroundings, stay safe and have a joyous and wonderful holiday.

Crowe is the police chief for Pembroke.

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