Thursday, November 26, 2009
7 News Features: Shopping Safety
It's easy to get distracted by the sales, the sounds, the joy of shopping this holiday season, but if you don't pay attention, you may end up becoming a target for thieves. Seven's Carmel Cafiero shows you how to keep that from happening.
WSVN -- It's the most wonderful time of the year for criminals.
Officer Bob Wilkins, Plantation Police: "It's the holiday season and this is when the thieves become more active."
And with shoppers hunting for bargains, thugs know it's open hunting season as well. Their target, your valuables.
Officer Wilkins: "They start preying on the weak victims, and those weak victims are usually women or seniors."
But knowing what the thieves will do can help make sure you are not a target first what the crooks are looking for.
Officer Wilkins: "Not paying attention to your surroundings, that's probably the number one."
Plantation Police took us to a local shopping center to show us what to do and more importantly, what not to do.
Officer Wilkins: "As you can see, our victim is not paying attention, talking on the cell phone, doing her texting."
And when you're not watching you are an easy target. Second, big no no carrying too many bags.
Officer Wilkins: "She's overburdened with her packages, left her purse exposed on the top of the car."
Credit cards, drivers license, cash gone in a flash. This is how you should look when you leave the store.
Officer Wilkins: "Keys in hand, she has her purse tucked under her arm. She's watching her surroundings."
And don't forget you have tools. You can use your car's panic alarm and a little reflection.
Officer Wilkins: "Now are victim she's approaching her car, she's using the reflection of her car to see the bad guy approach and alert anybody in the parking lot."
He may have run off with the bags, but he won't appreciate the sudden sound of attention.
Officer Wilkins: "This is very common for the bad guys in the parking lots."
And you are not just looking for thieves on foot, bad guys know how to work out of a moving car.
Check out these super sized targets red meat to criminals.
Officer Wilkins: "TVs, electronic items, they'll come from a store, load those items in their car, not aware that someone is watching them load it up."
Instead of a confrontation here at the store, they'll tail you hoping you make the big mistake of heading to another store and leave the valuables behind.
Officer Wilkins: "That person, that bad guy, will follow them to whatever they go to, pop the trunk which is relatively easy, and take the items."
Finally, your best weapon may be your instinct. If something feels just not right, there may be trouble. So trust yourself and remember...
Officer Wilkins: "Most of the criminals that are doing these crimes they just want your stuff, they don't want a confrontation, they do not want to be delayed."
So give up the belongings you are the one thing that cannot be replaced.
Officer Wilkins: "Didn't lose your life, didn't jeopardize your family, bad experience, but nobody got hurt."
Carmel Cafiero: "Police say take the first steps to protect yourself before leaving the house. Extra jewelry, unneeded credit cards, large amounts of cash should not come shopping with you. Once you get there, try parking as close as you can in a well lit area."