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Do You Practice SAFE SHOPPING?

Dec 09, 2015 02:00PM ● By Ren Campbell

Sure, we may complain about the traffic during the holidays, but the fact is that most of us love to shop for Christmas. It’s a sport — a challenge—an obsession. Find that special gift — discover a secret sale or, lord help me, get a great parking spot! It’s exciting and fun.

However, with all the excitement and chaos comes great opportunity for thieves and predators who are more than willing to take advantage of you when you least expect it. They’ll steal your purse, swipe your credit card or worse!

The good news is that by simply practicing a few safe shopping techniques, everyone can greatly reduce their chances of being victimized.

SAFE SHOPPING PRACTICES                                  

 There’s safety in numbers. Most predators are looking for an easy target and want to avoid being caught or identified. Shop with a friend or a group of co-workers. Establish a system of contact, should someone become separated from the pack. 

If you are shopping alone, have your cell phone readily available, should you need to call 911. However, do not text or play games on your phone as you walk to and from your car. This can cause you to lose track of your surroundings, leaving you vulnerable. 

Would-be criminals will often prey on your good nature by trying to distract you with simple questions (such as for the time or directions) in order to get close to you. Avoid making eye contact with strangers. Look confident and when possible, shop during the day.

Should you find yourself under attack or in a scary situation, use your voice to call out! The last thing any criminal wants is attention, so that’s exactly what you want to do. Create as much attention as you can! Yell or help, throwing something or blow the car horn—anything that will bring attention to your situation.

Don’t be afraid to ask the security guard to escort you to your car or watch you as you enter 
 your car. If a guard is not available, wait for other groups of shoppers to walk out with you to your car or stay where others can see you.

According to the National Coalition Against Sexual Assaults, a good Self Defense course covers critical thinking about defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember physical techniques. The instructor respects and responds to your fears and concerns. Instruction is based on the belief that we can act competently, decisively, and take action for our own protection. Essentially, a good course is based on intelligence and not muscle. It offers tools for enabling a person to connect with their own strength and power. These courses are out there. Good luck in your research. Taking a Self Defense class is one of the most positive things people can do for themselves.