By Crystal Harrell
Campus Life Editor
The holiday season has hit the desert, and what many consider to be the most wonderful time of the year can also be the most dangerous. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the number of retail crime cases and robberies tend to rise during December, making it essential to practice safe habits while shopping for loved ones this month.
There are several measures to take to ensure a safe drive to and from stores with these tips in accordance with the LAPD Crime Prevention Section. When venturing on your holiday shopping spree, it is recommended that you have someone else accompany you and to always lock your car doors and close your windows when leaving the parking lot. Also make sure to park as close to the store entrance as possible and if you must shop at night, park under a streetlight or in a well-lit area. It is very important not to have any shopping bags or valuable items visible through your car windows; make sure to hide them in the trunk of your car or under the seats to avoid becoming a target of burglary.
Once you have finished your holiday shopping at a mall or store and are about to return to your car in the parking lot, have your car keys ready in your hand as you head out the exit doors. Maintain a firm hold of your purse and shopping bags while walking to your car, and do not put them down as you open your car doors. If you feel uncomfortable walking out by yourself or are suspicious of the surroundings, have mall or store security escort you out to your car.
Danger is not only present in parking lots, but also in the stores themselves. The LAPD recommends dressing comfortably and casual, without wearing any expensive jewelry while shopping, and to also not carry a purse if possible. It is also advised to not carry a large amount of cash with you and to always have a driver’s license or form of identification at hand for emergencies.
Try to avoid carrying large quantities of bags or packages for easier mobility and views of your surroundings. Another threat to be wary of is con-artists who try to divert attention away from your purchases so they can steal them. Be cautious whenever a stranger approaches you for any reason while in a store. Holiday shopping can be fun, but it is vital to stay alert and remember these safety tips to ensure a happy and safe winter season with your loved ones.