SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A lot of people will be heading out to the malls later this week, but it's not just shoppers who are looking for good deals. Criminals are also on the prowl during the holiday shopping season.
Malls are packed, cash registers are ringing, and parking lots are full. It's not just the holidays that are right around the corner. Sometimes, criminals are too. That's why police want you to be extra careful when you head out.
"First and foremost, definitely be aware of your surroundings. That is most important. When you are out in large groups, make sure you know who you are with. Make sure you are not carrying large bags, and if you have to go back to the car, make sure you secure the items in the car and consider reparking," said Cpl. Sherrell Brown, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department.
Don't be a victim. Maintain situational awareness of what is happening around you. Shoppers should also keep one hand free. It makes you less vulnerable. If you can, shop in pairs and ladies should avoid carrying a purse if possible. Carry your ID and payment in a front pocket. Once you get outside, there are other things to talk about.
"Well, you want to make sure that you park in a well-lit area. Have an idea where you are going. That will help, especially if you consider making a large purchase. If by chance you can get a staff member to come out with you and put that purchase in your vehicle security, that way you have some more people outside with you," Cpl. Brown said.
Along with parking in a well-lit area, make sure you have your keys out and ready before you get to your car. Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area. Put purchases in the trunk, out of sight; not in your back seat. If someone does attempt to rob you, here's what police suggest.
"Don't fight, don't resist definitely. Your life is more valuable than the purchase you just made," Cpl. Brown said.
While police say that you do have every right to protect yourself by using pepper spray or a weapon, they do caution against it.