Public Safety Announcement – Holiday Shopping Tips

Since June 30, 2014, the Champaign Police Department has taken nine theft reports involving wallets and other personal items, having been stolen from the purses of restaurant patrons. Reports indicate that items were stolen from purses hanging on the back of patrons’ chairs, or from purses left unattended and unzipped.

The Champaign Police Department is reminding everyone, who dines or shops locally, to practice the following safety tips:

1. Don’t hang your purse or bags on the back of a chair in a restaurant or other public place; keep valuables in plain view at all times.

2. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card, when possible, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you are victimized, cancel your credit cards immediately!

3. Never leave your purchases unattended, even for a few minutes, especially in a parking lot, restaurant or crowded store. Stow your purchases in the trunk of your vehicle. Leaving your purchases in plain view may make you a target for theft.

4. Choose well lit parking spaces in areas closer to main entrances and don’t forget to lock your car doors.

5. Pay attention to anyone who appears to be loitering in the parking lot and remain alert at all times. Thieves will target victims who are distracted and may even create a distraction themselves to pickpocket or steal.

6. Shop during daylight hours, whenever possible. When shopping at night, go with a friend or family member.

7. Ensure that children are not left alone in video arcades, toy stores or restrooms; predators are on the prowl for unattended children. Point out security guards, so your child knows where to go for help, if they become lost.

8. Call the police immediately, if you become the victim of a crime.