Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Hot for the Holidays: Shop safety
We are just days away from Black Friday and "buyers beware". Crooks will be out in full-force as you go on the hunt for bargains. 7's Carmel Cafiero has some tips to keep you a step ahead of the bad guys.
WSVN -- Tis the season to be careful.
Lt. Jeff Morse, Broward Sheriff's Office: "Take a look at that guy, behind her, all he's doing is watching her."
Unsuspecting shoppers hunting for the best deals, may be totally unaware they're being hunted too.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "Everybody is excited, everybody is in a rush to get to the next best sale, and they are less focused on what's really important."
And what's really important is being aware of your surroundings. Something that's hard to do if you're on the phone chatting or texting.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "She's very distracted."
The experts say a distracted shopper is red meat for crooks.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "Easy targets, make for easy prey."
Members of the Broward Sheriff's Office recreated the most common and correctable kinds of mistakes shoppers make.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "Here you have your shopper walking through the parking lot, she's got a lot of bags in her hand, purse is kind of hanging low. Look at this guy, he's just grabbed her purse, it was that easy."
The safer way to leave a store- keys in hand and purse tucked tightly under one arm.
Also it's a good idea to leave expensive jewelry at home. It's a magnet for criminals.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "This is what we like to see, this is a very aware shopper."
And be aware- the bad guys aren't always working solo. This video shows a real distraction crime as it happened. Watch the center aisle- while one woman distracts the shopper, another is caught reaching in to steal her wallet right out of her purse.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "The best defense, is a good offense."
Back in the parking lot, rely on your instincts. If something makes you uncomfortable or your feel threatened, use your car's panic alarm.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "As she presses the alarm, this would be bad guy decides he wants no part of it."
Once you make it to your car, keep your guard up. It takes mere seconds for a quick crook to pull a fast one.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "Look at how fast someone just came up, grabbed that box off the top of the car. Now she notices it's missing, but she has no idea where it went. Watch how long her back is turned toward that cart, someone just grabbed it and ran away."
The best place to secure bags is in the trunk, not the backseat. It keeps them out-of-view. But crooks are watching for big ticket items and will hit the trunk if they see computers and tv's.
Lt. Jeff Morse: "If you do make large purchases secure them in your trunk, drive home, unload your car and if you need to come back to the store, come back at that point."
Carmel Cafiero: So shop safe and shop smart this year. Remember, it only takes an instant for a thief to steal some of the joy out of the holidays."
(Copyright 2011 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)