Written by: Cally Worden
Shopping can be a lively and fun experience, filled with delightful distractions. But as you soak up the dazzling array of products and eye-catching promotional material it’s important not to forget about your personal safety. Crime is, sadly, a fact of life. It pays to be vigilant whenever you are out and about, but pay particular attention when shopping, as your guard is more likely to be down. Next time you hit the shops take a minute to remind yourself of the following safety tips.
Things to remember
- Use a busy, well-lit car park whenever possible, avoiding dark corners. Always check in and around your car before you get behind the wheel – you never know who may be lurking
- When eating, keep your bag on your lap, by your feet, or secured to the table or chair in some way
- Avoid using public toilets that are out of the way – best to have a queue and be safe in numbers
- Loop your handbag strap across your shoulder and over your head. Keep it held close to your body at the front or side as you walk, with the flap facing inwards
- Walk tall and confidently, and keep aware of who is around you at all times
- If you need to use your phone stop in a busy area with your back to a wall to you can keep an eye on everyone around you
- When buying something, always close your bag after taking out your purse – smart thieves are now using hidden cameras to illicitly photograph details on cards, driving licences and other forms of ID – these can be shared and duplicated before you know it
- Beware of anyone bumping into you – this is a classic distraction technique. If it happens check your bag and pockets right away for anything missing
- Avoid survey takers – while they may be genuine, some are not and their questions can distract you for just long enough to allow someone to slip a hand into your bag or pocket
- As antisocial as it may sound try to avoid talking to strangers, as it makes you seem like an easy target. Openness, sadly, is seen as a weakness when thieves are assessing you as a target
- Leave your bling at home, don’t carry large amounts of cash and basically do what you can to make yourself less of a target. It shouldn’t have to be this way, but staying safe is your number one priority, so go with flow and beat the criminals at their own game
- If anyone approaches you claiming to be a security guard or store detective never go anywhere with them alone
Most of these safety tips are common sense, but I think it never hurts to have a reminder from time to time, just to keep them at the forefront of your mind. If you have any other ‘Stay Safe’ at the shops tips to share then we’d be happy to hear them.