While shopping for the holidays, consumers are being urged to take precautions to help minimize the potential for theft. Officials with Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers say crime is higher than usual during the holidays, and they offer the following tips to consumers:
* Try to go shopping with someone. You're safer when not alone.
* Always park your car in a well-lit area, and remember where you parked it.
* When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior of your car to be sure no one is hiding inside. Check to see if you are being followed.
* If you can, carry a flashlight and whistle on your key chain and have the whistle ready to use on the way to your car.
* Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. You will be ready to unlock the door and will not be delayed by fumbling and looking for your keys.
* When storing items purchased at the stores, place them out of sight. The best place is in a locked trunk. If you are doing a lot of shopping, go home, unload, and go back.
* Hide your personal and expensive items. Do not leave your purse, wallet, or cellular telephone in plain view.
* Don't resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings. Don't chase someone who robs you because they may have a weapon. Instead, call 911.
* Lock all your doors soon as you get in your car in case someone is behind you and ready to get in your car,
* Try to go to the bank during the day to get money. It is best to use a debit card so you don’t need to get cash. If you have go to an automatic teller machine for cash, check for people around and make sure it is well-lit and in a safe location.
* If you are shopping with your children, be prepared. Place a note with each small child with his/her name, your name, and cell phone number. Always have a central meeting place in case someone gets separated from you. Make sure they know all about talking to, taking things from, or even following strangers.
* Beware of the "a good deal" scams. Things are not always what they appear to be.
* If you are purchasing toys for small children, be sure that they are safe. You will be surprised what a small child can swallow or what can injure them.
* Drive defensively. Traffic is heavier during the holidays. Drivers may also have indulged in too much holiday spirits.