The holidays are a special time of year for many of us. Unfortunately, they are also notorious for criminals preying on individuals who are rushed and being accidentally careless with their belongings during the season’s increased pace of activity.
The police department typically sees a rise in criminal activity near shopping centers and campus during the holiday season, which is now upon us. As such, Champaign Police would like to remind the community to maintain their awareness by offering the following tips for a safe holiday shopping experience.
Lock it, Hide it, Keep it
Keep your vehicle locked and store packages out of view. Always remove valuables from your car once home.
Do not be careless with your personal possessions
Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Keep your wallet or cash in an inside pocket, not a back pocket. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
Stay alert to your surroundings
Don’t talk on a cell phone when walking to and from your vehicle. Keep your full attention on your surroundings. When possible, choose well-lit parking spaces in areas closer to main entrances and beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. ‘Con-artists’ may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Shop with friends and family. There is safety in numbers.
Shop during daylight hours whenever possible and don’t overload yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion if you are approached. A criminal will be less likely to approach an individual who is with a group of people.
Online shopping/maintain personal records
Shop at websites you trust; watch out for email scams; and check your statements often for suspicious activity. As an added precaution, make sure you have a record of all your credit card numbers in a secure place at home should one gets misplaced.
For more holiday shopping safety tips, please visit our website here.