As hearty shoppers prepare for the craziness that is Black Friday, law enforcement agencies are hoping those preparations include a few steps that will make for a safe shopping experience.
"Enjoy yourself, but be aware and alert," said Turlock Police Lt. Nino Amirfar.
Here are a few practical tips to keep the holiday shopping season safe.
• Whenever possible shop in groups of two or more.
• Keep your valuables and packages out of sight in your vehicle. Utilize your trunk, but don't make multiple trips back and forth because that just alerts thieves to a potentially large haul.
• Beware of approaching strangers. Just as it is the time of year to find great bargains, it's also the time of year when more con artists and scammers are out on the prowl.
• Have your keys ready before leaving the store.
• Don't wear expensive jewelry while out shopping.
• Keep purses zipped and close to the body. When walking through a parking lot, keep it tucked toward the parked vehicles. Don't leave purses unattended in shopping carts while in the store.
• Keep vehicle doors locked even when in the vehicle.
• If possible, avoid parking next to vans or large trucks that limit your visibility.
• Use ATMs in well-lit, populated areas and take your receipt with you.
• Limit the number of credit cards you take with you. Not only can it help your budget, but it is a lot easier to cancel one card than several cards if your purse or wallet is stolen.
• If possible, keep keys, cash, and credit cards stored separately.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.