Shopping can be a fun activity any time of the year. But there can be dangers associated with shopping. We are looking at how to be safe and smart when shopping.
Katie Carrol of your BBB and Pat Heine with the Pueblo Police Department talk about ways to protect your car from break-ins and how to avoid purse snatchers and pick pockets when shopping.
You go to a shopping center and have made several purchases. You place the items in your car so you do not have to carry them while continuing to shop or completing other errands. Your car is an easy target for criminals looking for a quick payday. Always remember that thieves rob people for a living. They go through parking lots and malls and stores looking for the person not paying attention to their purse or wallet or the car with exposed expensive-looking items.
You do not need a lot of money or skill to break into cars. Many people think that it takes a long time to break into a car; however people that are practiced at it can break in within five or six seconds and the tools necessary can be bought at an average hardware store. Even when your errand is very short, (“I am just running in to pay my phone bill.”) just a minute or two is an eternity for a thief so take precautions.
Here are a couple of tips to prevent your car from being broken into especially during the holiday season:
- Be sure to clear out your trunk before you go shopping to have space for your purchases and put your purchases in the trunk. A thief is more likely to break into a car if they can actually see an item of perceived value.
- Another inexpensive theft deterrent if you have an automobile without a trunk or when you have too many purchases for your trunk to contain is a plain black trash bag. You put your purchases in the trash bag; tie it up, place it in the back of a car and passersby do not know what is in it. Once again a thief must guess what is in the bag and will likely move on to a guaranteed target.
Here are a few tips to deter pickpockets and purse snatchers:
- Before you go shopping, empty your purse or wallet and take out all unneeded items so it does not overflow. A bulging wallet or purse can look quite tempting to a thief.
- Keep your wallet or purse in a less inviting position. Use a purse with a strap you can wear across your body and place the bag on the front of your body not your hip. If it is hard for you to dig your wallet out of your front pocket, it will be hard for a pickpocket also.
- Many people take all their credit cards, their checkbook and a fair amount of cash with them every time they go shopping. Plan your shopping and take only what you need. If you do become a victim, it is much easier to close one account than seven or eight.
- Try not to set your purse or wallet down anywhere. Once your wallet or purse leaves your grasp, a pickpocket or purse snatcher can take it quickly and get away in a crowd of people.
To stay safe shopping, keep your head on your shoulders. Always be thinking about what you need to protect. Have you put your wallet back in a secure location? Have you zipped your purse or closed the clasp? If it is late or you have several bags or you are just feeling nervous about going to the parking lot alone, ask the clerk to call security to get someone to walk you out. The BBB Eye
airs on PPLD-TV, Channel 17 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and then again on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m.