Lafayette, LA (KPLC) - Chief Jim Craft with the Lafayette Police Department has issued the following safety tips for holiday shoppers:
Be aware of the people and environment around you. If possible, shop with a friend.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Instead, pay for purchases with a check, credit or debit card.
Carry only your driver's license, personal checks, or necessary credit or debit cards. If you bring a purse, instead of wearing the straps around your arms or shoulders, carry the bag by clutching the purse tightly under your arm or otherwise wear a fanny pack.
Carry your wallet in your front pocket, where it is easier to keep track of it.
If possible, carry purchases in plain, nondescript bags rather than those with logos of expensive brands. If you stop for a meal in a mall food court, keep an eye on your purchases, as bags can be switched out or stolen.
If you will be shopping with your children, teach them what to do in case they get lost.
Have your car keys in your hand and ready before you leave the last store. If you must stow purchases in your vehicle, place them in the truck, where they are less visible.
Make use of various stores package pickup services rather than overburdening yourself with boxes and bags.
In parking lots:
Shop early and leave early to avoid evening darkness. Also, park in a high visibility area with good lighting. Do not park next to a vehicle with dark tinted windows.
Before arriving at the shopping center, lock all your valuables in the trunk of your vehicle.
Leave the store with others rather than alone. If you feel uncomfortable, ask security to escort you to your car. Walk briskly, confidently, and directly through the parking lot.
Be cautious of people handing out fliers or asking questions in the parking area, and watch for people who may be following you. If you suspect someone following you, report it to security immediately.
Keep the outside of your home well lit with doors locked and window curtains closed. Don't display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from windows or doors.
After the holidays, don't advertise gifts received by the boxes left for the garbage collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, non-clear garbage bag.
The Lafayette Police Department will have additional patrols working retail areas and enforcing Handicap Parking violations this holiday season.
The LPD reminds citizens to report any suspicious persons or situations by calling 911.