The holidays are a time for enjoying the warmth of those closest to us, but it’s also a time that criminals can take advantage of us thanks to distractions and stress. Holiday shopping is a particularly stressful time, and women need to know how to keep themselves from being easy prey for opportunistic criminals. Here are a few holiday safety reminders to help keep you, your loved ones, and your belongings under wraps.
Make it a Friend Date
We recommend taking a friend or family member with you during the holiday shopping frenzy to make you less of a target. It’s a great time to bond with someone, while you get your shopping done, and they’ll be able to help you load and unload the goodies (more on that below). If you can’t take someone with you during your shopping trip, at least ask security for an escort back to your car from the grocery store or mall, especially if it’s dark outside by the time you’re done.
Take Care of Your Purse
Thieves love to take purses — they’re quick targets because they contain a lot of valuable items and they’re easy to grab all in one go, especially when the owner is distracted by a sales display or decision to make in the department store. This is why we don’t recommend women carry purses at all. But if you must, we have a bunch of ideas on how to keep it safe. If nothing else, hold onto it or wear a crossbody version that you can feel and keep tabs on, and make sure it clasps shut. Another great idea is a backpack purse, which will allow you to shop hands-free. Just be aware that someone can sneak into your backpack easily without you noticing if they’re behind you.
Stay Vigilant at Your Car
Your car may seem like a safe final stop, but criminals prey on women at their cars as often as anywhere else. It’s easy to lose yourself while loading or unloading mounds of groceries or gifts into the trunk or back seat of your car during the holiday season, but this makes you a prime target. Lock any doors that you aren’t using so that no one can get in the car from the opposite side or grab something off a seat while you’re not paying attention. This is true for filling up the car with gas, too; police have been warning about “sliding”, which is when a thief steals your purse out of the passenger side of the car while you’re inside paying for gas or paying at the pump. Keep your purse with you during the whole process (again, crossbody bags or backpacks are best for this) and make sure you’re paying attention to your surroundings. This is not the time to check your phone.
Watch Out in Parking Lots
Our biggest tip here is to park in a well-lit spot and, as always, keep your head on a swivel. With cold weather, it’s easy to pop that hood up to keep our ears warm for a quick run through the parking lot. But hoods obstruct our vision and make it hard to see approaching attackers. Also, make sure you have your dominant hand free and don’t overload yourself carrying bags or packages. Take an extra minute to get help carrying items to your car or use a cart so that you can be ready if an attacker surprises you.
As always, one of the best things you can do is project an air of confidence and strength to make you the last person a criminal wants to mess with. Walk with purpose, keep your head up, shoulders back, make eye-contact with others, and don’t distract yourself with headphones or your phone. Remember: You are a powerful woman who controls the situation, and no one is going to take that away from you. Not feeling particularly confident? Sign up for one of our self-defense classes and gain back your power.
The holidays can be a stressful time, but with these tips, you can keep becoming a victim of crime off your list of stressors. For more encouragement on keeping yourself safe, visit our blog.