Don’t let thieves make steals while you’re shopping for deals

Field reporter Ashley Weinstein gives some tips on parking lot safety for Black Friday shoppers commuting from place to place.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As you get weighed down with shopping bags, you could become a target to thieves, so there are some things people should keep in mind while out and about snatching up deals.

Some safety advice for anyone to keep in mind: Have your keys and cellphone ready when walking to your car. Stay off your cellphone and don’t be distracted.

Unfortunately, women are a more likely target for parking lot prowlers.

If you have a purse, don’t wear the strap across your chest. That might sound contrary to what you’ve been told, but experts say criminals could use that strap to choke or drag you.

Do hold your purse as close to your body as possible, but do not swing it at your side. That makes it easy to grab.

Do try to carry your purse in your less dominant hand. If you are right handed, carry the purse in your left. This frees up your “strongest” hand to hit an attacker to defend yourself, or to easily get yourself into your car as you run away.

A mother’s most vulnerable time is typically when she’s in the parking lot strapping her child into the car seat.

Experts recommend putting your child’s car seat in the middle of the back seat, so that a mother can physically get into the car with her child, close the door behind her and lock it, while she straps him/her into the seat.

As you walk from store to store, safety experts say you should move with confidence and look people you encounter in the eyes.

“I mean I just make sure to always be with people when it’s dark, late at night. I try to go in crowded places, so, don’t go to places where you feel alone,” said safety aware citizen Sarah Campbell.

With so many people shopping, it’s unlikely you’ll snag a parking spot near a front door, so remember where you park -- maybe even take pictures of landmarks to make it easier to plan your route back.

This will help with the appearance of confidence as you walk with purpose to your car.

When you’re making those holiday purchases, try to stick with one credit or debit card through the season. This will help you keep track of what you’ve spent and can help you easily spot any questionable charges.


About the Author:

Ashley is a senior at University of Florida studying broadcast journalism, specializing in meteorology. Ashley lives in St. Augustine.