SCMPD offers tips for shoppers this holiday season

From the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department:

Whether shopping downtown or at a mall, here are a few tips to help keep you safe:

  • Secure your vehicle at all times—when you close a car door, lock it, whether you are inside the car or outside.  Even if it is in a loading zone and you are just running inside for a few seconds, raise the windows, shut off the engine, remove the key, and lock the vehicle.  There are few things as tempting to a potential car thief as an unattended vehicle with the engine running.
  • Always remove items from plain sight when you park your car or a valet parks your car.  Anything of value (including check books, credit card receipts and garage door openers) should be removed from an unattended vehicle if at all possible.
  • Park in the safest space.  Park in a commercial parking facility or as close as possible to an open business or other location where people will notice suspicious activity near your car.  If you expect to return to your vehicle after dark, plan ahead and park near a light.
  • Be aware of your surroundings as you walk to your destination
  • Ask for assistance if you don't feel safe walking to your destination.  There really is safety in numbers so having a co-worker accompany you can be very helpful.  You can also check with building security or a parking attendant for assistance.
  • Report crimes to the police.  Even small crimes and minor thefts should be reported as they may be part of a developing trend.
  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Always carry your driver license or identification card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible carry your money or credit cards in a pocket.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in Crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.