The holiday shopping season is fast approaching, and consumers will be patronizing their favorite stores over the next several weeks.
Crimes of opportunity – including auto burglaries when vehicles are left unlocked and unattended – tend to increase this time of year.
The Las Cruces Police Department is encouraging shoppers to follow basic safety tips that can help keep them out of harm’s way this holiday season.
Shopping safety tips include:
- Shop with a friend. You are less vulnerable when shopping as a couple or small group.
- Do not leave personal electronics, valuables, merchandise or wrapped gifts visible in a vehicle. Conceal those items in a trunk or take them home before continuing to shop.
- Roll up windows and lock doors when leaving your vehicle unattended.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a parked vehicle.
- Never leave a vehicle running and unattended.
- If you take children shopping, keep them nearby at all times.
- Do not allow young children to shop or wander around stores on their own.
- Avoid setting a purse, cell phone and other personal property in a shopping cart.
- Carry a purse close to your body or consider carrying only a wallet in a front pocket.
- When possible, pay for items with a credit or debit card to avoid having to carry large amounts of cash while shopping.
- Do not overburden yourself by carrying too many bags or packages at one time – especially in darkened or busy parking lots.
- Have automobile keys ready, in hand, prior to leaving the store.
- If shopping after dark, park in a well-lighted area and near the storefront.
- Another good parking option is to park near the shopping cart return “corral,” so you can unload merchandise and return the cart without walking across a large parking lot.
- Do not hesitate to ask store security for an escort to your vehicle.
- Tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you’re expected to return.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Call police immediately if you notice suspicious activity or feel your safety is in danger.