“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” A Christmas classic since Andy Williams sang it more than 50 years ago. And for nearly everyone who celebrates this time of good will, fellowship, and peace it is wonderful…even those who want to take it away from you.
There are innumerable hooligans, ner’do wells, and just plain out and out criminals out there that wish to rob you of your holiday spirit. These 3 posts, including this one and the previous on porch pirates, will be in an effort to prevent them from taking your fellowship, safety, and security from you:
While you’re out Shopping:
You must be aware of whom and what is around you at all times. This sounds simple enough to do, but during the holiday season, it really isn’t. And the first unusual thing you’ll read here is that it really helps you to be a tad bit paranoid, or as some call it, hyper-vigilant, and watchful of, literally, everything and everyone around you & not just the special sales and gifts for Mom, dad, significant other, or that lil one.
While not being pessimistic and suspicious of people, you definitely need to take care and be wary of potential scammers and those following you. Those stalking you may want to take advantage of you and you not being aware– in more than a few ways.
Carry only 1 credit/debit card and NEVER, absolutely never, flash a wad of cash. Use your wallet instead of having the cash in your pocket, unless you have a bodyguard. Criminals, if they are stalking you, will watch how you pay for your purchases. If they spot numerous credit/debit cards or a huge wad of cash in your wallet, it makes you an obvious and easily spotted target. And if you’re not aware of that person constantly following you around the store or mall…
Know where you are, also at all times. This goes along with the first tip. You must be constantly aware of where you are and how you got there. Wandering mindlessly around the mall, like you’re in a daze – which is common during this happy-go-lucky season, you may forget or overlook some little issue that may become a bigger problem when you try to leave with that special gift.
Carry your wallet in your front pocket, and this goes for the ladies as well. This is weird tip #2 but stop and think for a moment. Which pocket is closer and harder to get into, your rear or front pocket? If you carry your wallet in your front pocket then it is less likely to draw the eye of a potential pocket picker.
Ladies, if you’re not wearing pants with pockets, place your purse around your neck and shoulder and wear it on your chest. This will make it harder for someone to steal or open it up. You never want to make yourself an easy target. Therefore make those pick-pockets find an easier person to ‘pick’ on.
Make frequent trips to your car:
This goes along with the last tip. Especially if you’re in the middle of ‘Black Friday’ or other shopping frenzy. If you plan on shopping til you drop then make sure that you don’t drop from being robbed! Make a purchase or two and take it to the car. Then go back to the next store or bargain special. This will allow you to keep your hands free and you are able to pull out your keys quickly, just in case you perceive you are being watched or followed.
Never, carry so many packages that you can’t see well or your hands can’t move freely:
If your hands are full and you can’t reach your keys easily or you can’t see what is ahead of you clearly, you make a very easy and inviting target to a criminal. Whether they assault you while you’re moving towards your car or after you’ve reached it and have to put your packages down. As with the first tip. ALWAYS be aware of what’s going on around you.
Another lil tip that may help during those Christmas shopping outings – keep your keys poking out between your fingers.
They make a wonderful weapon to slash a criminal who tries to accost you. And it also helps you to save time in unlocking the car, so that no one can pounce quickly.
Watch for the 2nd part of this post soon. Look for it so you can stay safe & secure during the traditional holiday rush.
I certainly hope that the Christmas and holiday season will be wonderful. And I ask of you, those who celebrate, please remember the reason for the season. If someone is rude and surly to you, remember that that they may have had someone be rude and surly to them earlier (even if they just started). A smile and few kind words may go a long way in the warmth and fellowship of the season.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues having spent 33 years in the field. If you wish to know of WPV/SV incidents and other security news, visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Or follow him on twitter @robertsollars2.