December 4, 2017


The Holiday Season has officially begun, with many retailers offering great discounts for Christmas shoppers and extended hours of operation. Stores will be filled with bargain hunters, traffic will be heavier and an extra degree of patience is necessary as longer lines and filled parking lots can add to the seasonal stress. And while this is often a time of great anticipation for the shopper, unfortunately, it is also a time when the criminal element sees an opportunity. Here are a few common sense safety tips that might make your Holiday shopping experience more enjoyable and secure.

• Don’t buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry purchases to the car.
• Shop online only with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep receipts together and to help verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
• Consider alternate methods of payment for your purchases like onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
• While standing in the check-out line wait until asked before taking out your wallet, credit cards or checkbook.
• Ladies, carry your purse close to your body, and men, you wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
• In the parking lot have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check around the vehicle and in the back seat before getting in.
• Don’t leave packages visible in your car. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
• Tell a security guard or store employee if you see and unattended bag or package or simply feel unsafe walking to your vehicle.
• If you shop with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know to seek out mall or store security personnel if they need help.

Common sense and awareness of your surroundings are keys to being safe in any circumstance, especially in crowded stores and parking lots. FCSO deputies will be out in force to show a law enforcement presence throughout the Holiday shopping season to deter the criminal element that would like to take advantage of the law abiding public.”

Major Michael M. Nunn
General Counsel/P.I.O.