10 Safety Tips When You Check Out Mall This Festive Season. It is easy to become distracted when you’re out at the mall during this period. You are bombarded with bright lights, captivating signage, and all sorts of different sounds and smells. Thieves and criminals can hide in plain sight and take advantage of you with just the slightest diversion of your attention. Consider the following tips to stay safe.
1. Avoid Secluded Areas
As much as we all hate crowds, make sure that you are in a place with movement. Shopping during daylight hours is always safest, but if you must take a trip to the mall after the sun goes down, park in a well-lit area. Always check what’s going on around you before getting out. If you’re on foot, keep away from dark, quiet areas.
2. Go With Someone
Simple, there is safety in numbers. In a group, you are a lot less likely to find yourself the victim of a crime. Criminals are looking for soft and easy targets. If you are shopping alone, make sure someone knows where you are and when you expect to return home.
3. Avoid Small Talk With Strangers
Be on your guard with friendly strangers. They could be scam artists taking advantage of your natural politeness. Bogus charity fund raisers multiply at this time of year, so check on their registration number before giving them anything.
4. Avoid Carrying Too Much Cash
Don’t carry too much cash. Pickpocketers and petty thieves are roaming around malls looking for those they can swindle. Rather than carrying a lot of cash use a debit or credit card instead, but make sure you hide your pin code entry with your free hand. If you must bring cash with you, keep it hidden and never pull it all out of your wallet at once.
5. Be Careful When Using Your Cellphone
Make sure your phone is fully charged and don’t get distracted by messages and texting because this makes you an easy target. Be careful using wi-fi in public places because some hotspots don’t encrypt wireless data and this could lead to identity theft.
6. Leave Your Valuables At Home
The mall is no place to bring your valuable possessions. Leave them at home whenever possible or keep them well hidden when at the mall. Keep all shopping bags and purchases in the trunk of your car and keep other important possessions in your pockets or purse where criminals won’t be able to see them.
7. Keep Your Belongings Close
When you’re at a store, it’s important to always keep your purse or bag close to you. This will help to deter thieves and pickpockets, who often target unsuspecting shoppers. Thieves are looking for easy targets and a quick get-a-way. It’s much harder to steal your bag or purse if it’s held close to your body. Also keep her dominant arm free when carrying things around the store and the car.
8. Consider Personal Protection
While not everyone chooses to carry a concealed weapon, there are a number of different personal protection equipment options that are available. Consider carrying pepper spray in your bag, or a personal alarm, which will alert anyone in the area that you need help. It has also become more and more common for people to wear or carry body armor or bulletproof inserts.
9. Be Vigilant When Shopping With Young Children
For many parents, shopping with their children becomes even more challenging. Bathroom breaks, boredom, and constant hunger are no longer top of the list of things to worry about. Here is how;
- Avoid going to the mall during peak hours when it is more crowded
- Keep your children close to you at all times
- Make sure to hold their hand or have them securely belted into a stroller
- Teach your children what to do if they get lost
- Make sure your children have memorized contact information
- Never let your children go to the bathroom alone
- Teach your children about stranger danger
10. Know Where You Can Find Help
The SA Council of Shopping Centres is getting together with the SAPS to find ways of combating organized crime targeting shopping centres, but in the mean time make sure you know where help is by checking on where uniformed security staff members patrol in case you need them in a hurry