Be Smart and Stay Safe When Holiday Shopping

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher November 22, 2017

Even in a safe community like ours, the holiday season brings with it an uptick in crime, especially car burglaries and stolen purses. An additional hazard is children getting separated from their parents in the chaos of the holiday crowds.

Follow these tips for safer and smarter holiday shopping.

When Shopping...

  • Keep your purse closed and on your body at all times. Never leave it in a shopping cart or hanging on a stroller. Wear an across-the-body purse if you have one.
  • Shop with your spouse or a friend when possible. You're less of a target if you're with another person.
  • If you are shopping by yourself, tell someone where you're going and when you plan to return.
  • Fully charge your cell phone before you leave your house.
  • Use a credit or debit card instead of cash, and keep the phone numbers to report a stolen card in your glove box and in a convenient location of your home. If you have a copier printer, simply copy both sides of all your cards, then use a permanent marker to black out all but the last four digits of your card. Your credit card company won't need the entire number to find and cancel your account.
  • Do not carry your social security card with you — ever!

In Parking Lots...

  • It gets dark early this time of year. Ppark in well-lit areas.
  • If possible, pull through to a parking spot so you are facing forward when you leave. Backing out of a parking space increases your risk of a fender-bender with another vehicle, especially at night and during heavy shopping times.
  • Lock your doors. Every time.
  • When returning to your car, have your keys out and ready.
  • Pay attention and observe your surroundings.
  • Do not put packages into your trunk or car and then go into another store. You don't want anyone to see you load up your car and then walk away.

With Children...

  • Strap your children securely into strollers or have them hold your hand, especially in parking lots and crowds.
  • With older children, make a rule to always be able to make eye contact. If they can't see you, you probably can't see them.
  • When entering a store, point out the uniforms of the employees. Tell your children to find an employee if they can't find you in the store. Remind them that you will never leave the store without them, and they are never to leave the store without you no matter what.
  • Teach your children to look for a mom with children for help and to stay put if you get separated in the walkways of a shopping center.
  • If you find a lost child, stay with the child and send another adult for help.

At Home...

  • Park your car inside your garage if possible, rather than in the driveway or on the street.
  • Lock your registration, insurance, and other personal information in the glove compartment.
  • If you must park outside, don't leave valuables in plain view and remove the garage door opener.
  • If you buy electronic equipment or other expensive items for Christmas, do not leave the boxes out next to the trash where everyone can see you have a brand new 60" television. Cut the box down and put it into your recycling bin instead.