DA Hynes: Tips to stay safe while shopping this holiday season

December 3, 2012 Charles J. Hynes, Brooklyn District Attorney For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Now that the holiday season is upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all to use extra caution as you prepare for the upcoming celebrations. Criminals are opportunistic, and much of the crime that occurs at this time of year can be prevented by simply exercising some additional vigilance.

Here are a few safety tips to help protect you as you shop during the holidays:

• Remain alert especially when shopping in crowded streets, stores, and malls. If you are jostled in a crowd, be aware that a pickpocket or someone working with one might be responsible.

• Watch out for loud arguments or commotions that might be staged to distract you while your pocket is being picked.

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• Be aware of your handbags and wallets at all times. Carry wallets in front pockets, close handbags and carry them in front of you in crowds.

• Keep a close eye on your packages and bags, particularly when using on public transportation.

• Do not count cash in public.

• Use the buddy system and shop with a friend. You are more likely to become a target if you are alone.

• Park your car in a well-lit area and keep track of where it’s parked. This will get you in your car and on your way faster.

• Be careful what you post online remaining mindful to not alert others that you aren’t at home.

• Consolidate packages so you are a less desirable target for criminals looking to steal your belongings.

• Wear your purse across the body to keep your hands free for your keys, both when heading to your car and into your home.

• Be just as vigilant about your surroundings during the daylight hours. A crime can occur at any time.

• Be sure to lock your doors and do not admit strangers into your home.

• Finally, if you plan on attending any holiday parties do not drink and drive. Make arrangements to have a non-drinking designated driver with you if you intend to consume any alcoholic beverages.

With these safety tips in mind, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season. 

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