With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker offers some insight on how consumers can avoid being the victim of a crime.
"If you are being approached by someone who wants to rob you, give up the property and report the crime to your local authorities. Items can be replaced, but taking the risk of being injured for not giving up the property is just not worth it," Baker said.
This time of year, retailers overload their shelves and any available space with more holiday merchandise. Shoppers turn out en masse to rush the stores for the latest popular gift ideas and bargains. These situations often create a prime picking ground for thieves.
Chief Baker gave the following tips to shoppers to reduce their chances of being the victim of a crime during the holidays.
• If you are going to be shopping after dark, park in a well lit area as close to the store as possible.
• Shop with a friend - there is safety in numbers.
• Lock your car and do not leave anything in plain view.
• Put gifts and purchases in the trunk. If you have an SUV, put a blanket or something over the items to conceal them.
• While you are shopping, stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious, report it to a store employee.
• Do not leave purses or wallets unattended.
• Do not carry large amounts of cash. Some people take cash so they can stay on a budget and not be pressured or enticed into running up their credit card bill. But, you need to remember credit cards can be canceled, it's a lot harder to replace cash if it's stolen.
• When returning to your vehicle, have your key entry remote out. If you need to and if equipped, push the panic button on the key fob if you feel you are being followed.
• Always glance inside your vehicle before getting inside to make sure there is no one there waiting for you.
"People need to be conscious of their belongings, stay alert and aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious to the proper authorities. Keep these basic rules in mind and don't forget to have fun while doing the holiday shopping," Baker said.