Holiday Shopping Safety tips from the Bakersfield Police Department

It's November, and that means the holidays are almost here!  The Bakersfield Police Department has released holiday shopping tips to keep you and your family safe while shopping.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.  Knowing who and what is around you can help you avoid being surprised. It also allows you time to react if something appears suspicious.

Display confidence. Criminals choose the victim who looks like the easiest target. If you walk with purpose, scan the area around you, and make casual eye contact with others, you are displaying confidence.

Trust your instincts.  Your body will tell you when someone or something is suspicious.  If you have an intuitive feeling something is wrong, do not second-guess yourself. 

Carry only what you need.  Extra cash, credit cards, checks, jewelry and other items should be left at home.  If you must carry a purse, keep it small, in front, and close to your body.  Men should keep wallets in their front pockets to avoid pick pocketing. Never place or leave your purse or wallet in a shopping cart.

Shop with others.  The chance of being victimized drops dramatically when you are with at least one other person. Use the buddy system! If you are shopping with children, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard and ask for help if you become separated. They should never go into a parking lot alone.

Be prepared.  Have your keys in hand when walking to your vehicle.  The keys can be used to defend yourself and you will not waste time trying to find them when standing outside of your vehicle.  Carry a whistle to alert those around you something is wrong.

Plan ahead. Plan out the stores you will be going to and know their locations. Park in well-lit and high activity areas close to store entrances. Keep all windows closed and doors locked. Do not leave valuables visible in your vehicle! If you must return to your car while shopping, put your bags in the trunk and move your car to another safe location. 

Remember that criminals are opportunists- don’t give them an opportunity and stay alert at all times.

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