With the holiday shopping season upon us, the sight of shoppers jostling through crowded malls, carrying jackets, purses, multiple bags of presents and attempting to keep a watchful eye on children and other siblings is also an inviting sight for criminals looking to help themselves to your belongings.To lessen the opportunities for you and your loved ones to become a victim of crime while shopping this holiday season, MCC Public Safety would like to provide you with the following tips for keeping safe and secure.
How Best to Secure Your Personal Property
Men should carry their wallets and money clips in a front pants pocket rather than in a rear pants pocket or jacket pocket.
Women should carry their purse close to their body with the opening facing towards her. If walking in pairs, place the purse in between the both of you to restrict access.
Consolidate purchases into one or two large bags and try not to “overload” your hands and arms with packages.
Never leave any personal belongings unattended for any period of time and for any reason. Always maintain control over your personal belongings.
Always lock your vehicle and never leave personal property in a visible location. Of particular interest to thieves are electronic devices such as GPS systems. If you use a GPS system in your vehicle, secure it by locking it in your glove box or console. In addition, never program your home address into your GPS system as your home address can become available to thieves should your GPS system be stolen.
Security Tips for Remaining Safe in Shopping Centers and Malls
Prior to arriving at the mall, make note of the location and phone number of Mall Security. Program the Security Department’s number into your cell phone in case of an emergency.
If shopping alone, early in the morning, or late at night, avoid carrying your packages to your vehicle alone, especially if your vehicle is parked in a poorly lit or distant location. Ask for and wait for a security escort to your vehicle.
Avoid using restrooms and stores that are located in back corners or obscure locations inside the shopping center. Use well lit and centrally located stores and restroom facilities such as those restroom facilities located in the food court.
Avoid darkened hallways and other backroom areas such as those close to loading docks or vacant storefronts.
Never utilize a toy store or a video arcade as a babysitting center. Keep your children in sight and under your own control at all times. Check with mall security to see what their lost child procedures are and designate a meeting place for you and your children should you and your children become separated.
ATM Security Tips
Use the same prudence with your ATM card as you would any other item containing personal and financial information. Store your card in a safe place. Memorize your PIN number and do not write your PIN number down on a slip of paper or on the card itself. Carry your card where it can be easily accessible but not within reach of potential pickpockets.
If possible, have someone with you when you use the ATM machine. Security increases when you’re accompanied by another person whom can serve as a second set of eyes and ears when making cash withdraws.
Try to avoid making large cash withdrawals.
Avoid using ATM machines that are located in remote areas or areas that are poorly lit.
If you observe anyone loitering or acting suspicious at or near an ATM machine, avoid the area and contact security or police and give an accurate description of the person(s) as soon as possible.
Keep the time spent at the ATM machine to a minimum and avoid counting your money in public where you can be easily seen.
Always request and keep your ATM receipts. They provide vital bits of information should an incident occur.
Visually scan the area while using the ATM machine. Keep an eye out for suspicious persons or conditions that just don’t “feel right.” Pay close attention to and act on your “sixth sense.”
Examine the ATM machine for tampering before using the machine to make a transaction. If the ATM machine “eats” your card, call the lending institution or bank immediately to deactivate the card and safeguard the account.
Report all incidents of ATM machine tampering to Mall Security and Police.
A Crime Prevention Message from your MCC Crime Prevention Team
Have a Safe and Joyous Holiday Season!