HONOLULU (KHON2) — With the busy holiday shopping season kicking off, police are warning people to be mindful as they go out to buy gifts.
According to Crimestoppers, shopping safety starts before you even leave the house.
“Before you even head out to the shopping malls, we advise people to do a once over of their vehicles. Take out any boxes and shopping bags or anything that may look like anything of value,” said Sgt. Chris Kim with Crimestoppers.
If you don’t have anything in your car, thieves don’t have anything to steal.
Choosing the right parking space can also deter criminals.
“You want to park in a very secure and well lit area, preferably not too far from where you’re going to be shopping at,” said Kim.
While things may get crowded and hectic at the mall, Kim said to make sure you know where your valuables are at all times.
“Consider carrying your valuable items in your front pockets as opposed to your rear pockets. If you are carrying a purse, we actually recommend that you hold your purse close to you, preferably strapped across your body,” said Kim.
You should also avoid taking off your bag, but if you need to put your bag into a cart, make sure you’re able to secure it with the child seat belt.
The same thing applies to anything you buy, and when you are at the checkout, he recommends using a credit card instead of carrying a lot of cash. If you lose your card, you can freeze your account and get back any money that was wrongfully charged.
Finally, if you end up buying a lot and can’t carry it all, it may seem like a good idea to drop it off at your car, but Kim said, that could be putting you more at risk.
“There are actually criminals out there who will case out the parking lots and watch for people unloading things into their trunk. You’d be very surprised at how quickly these people can get into the trunk area,” said Kim.
While it may be a hassle, police said the safest thing to do if you’ve got your hands full with shopping bags, is to take everything back home before you continue shopping.