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Black Friday and Holiday Safety Tips

 

Clarksville Police DepartmentClarksville, TN – The holiday season is upon us and the infamous “Black Friday” is approaching. The holiday season is meant to be time of celebration and joy, but unfortunately it is also offers many opportunities for criminal activities. Even though Clarksville Police will have additional personnel working throughout the holidays, there are some personal actions you can take to help enhance your safety.

Awareness, Awareness, Awareness! Know what is going on around you. There are large crowds which flood to the shopping areas looking for the “Ultimate Bargain”. Over the years, there have been many incidents of injuries occurring in the parking lots and in the stores. Pay close attention to the mood of the crowd and surroundings. The desire to get a good deal has driven crowds to become unruly and people will act in an irrational manner. If the crowd gets out of hand, for your personal safety, it may be better to walk away.

Dress casually and comfortably.  Pay special attention to your wallets and purses. Keep the wallet in your front pant or jacket pocket. Purses should be kept close to your body and not dangling. If you must take a purse, make it a harness type that is worn over your body and can be covered with a jacket. Do not leave your purses unattended at any time. Also, try to avoid hanging purses on hooks or door handles in the restrooms. It may actually be better if you leave the purse at home and carry a wallet in your front pocket.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use credit or debit cards and checks whenever possible. Make sure only one credit slip is printed with your charge card and, carbons if used, are returned. Also, since many stores use electronic withdrawal for checks, safeguard the returned check since there is valuable data on it. Try to keep cash and credit cards in separate pockets.

Park in well-lit areas near entrances or near shopping cart return areas so you can return the shopping cart without going across the parking lot. Place previously purchased bags and packages in the trunk or out of sight. Visually scan the area around you before exiting the vehicle and as you head toward the entrance. When returning to the vehicle, have your keys in hand, look inside the vehicle before entering, lock the doors once inside, and then leave.
 
Don’t overburden yourself with too many bags or packages, especially if you need to enter darkened parking lots or areas. If you return to your vehicle to drop off packages and plan on returning to the store, it might be a good idea to move your vehicle to another location in the parking lot. No one wants to give up that valued parking slot, but it would be better to move the vehicle than to provide an opportunity to a dishonest person.

Shop with someone else.  There is safety in numbers and shoppers are less vulnerable when shopping in pairs.

Be aware of possible holiday scammers that go door-to-door pretending to collect for charitable organizations, but in reality, are collecting money for themselves. Ask the person for identification and the manner the money will be used. An alternative is to donate to an organization known to you.

Place additional emphasis on home security. Keep doors and windows locked. Turn security alarms on; they don’t do any good turned off.  

If out for the evening or traveling, make every effort to create an appearance that someone is home– leave lights, TV, or radio on. You can also utilize timers to activate electronic equipment when you’re away.

Holiday travelers should ensure mail and paper deliveries are halted. Also, if possible, have a friend or neighbor periodically park in your driveway to foster the appearance of activity around the house.

Presents should not be readily visible to a passerby. Do not advertise the holiday haul.  Break down boxes which items such as TVs, stereos, etc come in.


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