Shopping – Black Friday & Beyond
November 20, 2012
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the season and the malls, there is always someone out who thinks differently than you. Their attitude is “It’s better to take than to give.” And they will do whatever they can to take what they want rather than work a real job to get it.
So, when you’re in the mall going goo-goo eyed for that new toy for lil Johnny, remember to look around you and see if the same faces start showing up where you are. This will be the first indication that you’re being targeted. And no, it won’t be a coincidence that they are at every place you’ve been even though the mall is crowded. Criminals do what they can to make it look that way, just looking for the time to grab your wallet, expensive gift, or money.
If you find the same faces popping up at nearly every store you go into ensure that you do two things to confirm the fact you are being followed. When you look up and see them in the crowd are they watching you and hastily look away when you make eye contact. Secondly, as we will discuss later about driving home, make a few turns, twists, and extra stops to confirm they are indeed following you. Lie the good lil’ miscreants they are they try to deceive you in a myriad of ways, including walking right past you only to turn up later in a different store. If you think you are being followed notified mall security or ask someone to call the police.
Once you’ve finished your shopping, you’re still not out of the woods yet. Some of these criminals will follow you outside. What are they looking for? The person who has their hands so full of presents, they can’t get to their keys, cell phone, or anything else. This is the best time for them to rob you. And they can do it in several ways.
They will accost you by themselves in the parking lot, lightening your load and your wallet. They will steal your stuff with accomplices in another car. They can car jack you and the car. Or they can simply wait for you to go back in and break the windows. Another possibility is following you home and taking more than just Christmas from you and your family.
- Be aware of what is happening around you, even more so than normal. If you think someone is following you, tell a store employee or mall security.
- Guys carry your wallet in one of your front pockets. Women don’t carry that big purse if you can carry only a wallet and put into your front pocket too. Pickpockets hate front pockets because you can always tell if someone besides yourself is reaching in there.
- Never load yourself up with packages that you have a hard time seeing around, walking with, or stopping yourself from falling. Make frequent trips to the car. Yes, it is inconvenient but will save you bumps and bruises and filling out a police report.
- As in warmer weather, don’t leave your purchases in the car where they can be easily seen, not even with a blanket covering them – makes them even more tempting. Lock them out of sight in the trunk even SUVs with darkened windows don’t help. If you need to take the presents home and come back to finish you’re shopping.
- Never unload your arms into the car if people are sitting in a car next to yours- stay on the opposite side of them. If you notice people in the car next to yours be aware they may be lying in wait for your return, meaning being assaulted, robbed, or kidnapped. Never walk between your car and a panel van with its sliding door open or not. That’s asking for trouble go to the opposite side of your car. Phoenix has become the kidnap capital of the country. So far only Hispanic and illegals have been kidnapped but who knows when that market will expand.
- Be constantly aware of all the vehicles around you. It is not an uncommon strategy for them to follow you home to case your house for a future robbery. Ensure that the same car that followed you out of the mall parking lot didn’t also make the same turns you did getting home. If something doesn’t feel or look right to you take the long way home throwing a few extra turns and streets. Trust your instincts. If at any-time you feel you are being followed, cased, intimidated use your cell phone to call the police and pull into a brightly light parking lot. Stay away from dark closed alleys and such. If they take off on you, try to get as detailed a description of them and/or their vehicle as possible but don’t pursue.
Lastly, use the same logic after you arrive home to unload your packages as you loaded them into your car. Be wary of slow moving cars coming down your street, strangers on the sidewalk, and so on. Never leave your car unlocked, doors open, and unattended. If you have a garage, pull forward and close the door before unloading your car. While the temptation is great don’t leave your house door unlocked and wide open, and unattended while you unload your car. Finally as at the mall don’t over load yourself with packages leaving you vulnerable to a surprise attack.