Holiday shopping season is here. With the holiday season comes an increase in crime and women are particularly vulnerable when shopping with children. Take precautions when holiday shopping to ensure personal safety.
It’s that time of the year. Holiday shoppers have holiday joy in their hearts, while robbers are thinking of ways to steal that joy and anything else they can get their hands on. There are a few precautions that shoppers should take, especially, women before getting out to the malls, shopping centers and stores. Developing a safety plan will pay off in the long run.
A woman goes holiday shopping with her little girl. She hits every store in the shopping center. Pays for everything with either cash or her card, but, mostly cash, then, puts the receipts in the bags. She goes out to her car with a cart load of gifts for everyone on her list. And her daughter is walking beside her. When she gets to the car, she fumbles around in her purse looking for her car keys; at the same time trying to keep an eye on her daughter who has started crying because she is tired from shopping and is restless. In the mean time, a suspicious man moves, through the cars, toward her and her child. She doesn’t see him until he is standing beside her pretending to get into the car next to hers. No one is around when she senses something wrong, but, before she can react, he is upon her with a gun in hand.
What could or should she have done differently?
- She should have been shopping with another adult or adults. Shoppers, especially, women should shop with another adult or adults. Would be criminals are less likely to approach a pair or group of shoppers.
- She should have secured a baby sitter before going shopping. Women shouldn’t shop with children in tow. This makes them vulnerable; the robber knows that her instinct is to protect the child. She may have noticed the suspicious character sooner if she hadn’t been concerned for her crying child.
- She had way too many packages. Shoppers, men and women, should avoid lugging a large number of packages to the car; this not only brings unwanted attention, but, also takes your attention off of your surroundings. Instead, break up your shopping. Buy a few things, take them home, then, do more shopping. Or, place the packages in the trunk between stores. But, keep in mind, this is best done before going to the new shopping site. Would be criminals will see you putting packages in your trunk and break in to it. Never leave packages in the seats.
- She should have had her keys in hand. Shoppers should have their car keys in hand before leaving the store. Quickly, getting into the car and locking the doors will deter most robbers. This is where having a large number of packages is a disadvantage. Having to take the time to put the packages into the back seat or trunk, then, get into the car, leaves shoppers vulnerable to robbers.
Additional safety tips:
While we tend to be more cautious coming from shopping, it is more likely that a robber would pounce before you spend all of your cash, so, be as cautious upon arriving to the shopping center parking lot, as leaving the stores.
With that in mind, the best way to shop is with credit cards or debit cards Debit cards can be bought for a minimal amount and loaded at your discretion. If you do use cash, store your money in different places on your person. If I am holiday shopping, I will keep $20 to $30 in my purse, with the bigger amounts in other places, like pants or zippered jacket pockets. This way, when I take money out of my purse, no one can see what I have left. If you need additional cash, you can always go into the restroom and remove a bit from your hiding places. And if robbed, robbers aren’t going to take the time to pat down every pocket on you. More than likely they will take what little cash they can get quick; leaving you with most of your cash.
Also, keep your receipts and packages separate. If your packages are stolen, don’t make it easy for the thief to exchange your merchandise for cash. And you will have the dollar amount for your police report. If the robber is caught the dollar amount will help determine the degree of charges.
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Published in: Personal Finance