Crime Prevention Tips - Shopping
- Never leave your valuables in plain view even if your doors are locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight.
- Keep doors locked.
- While shopping keep your purses closed and in the lower part of a shopping cart to help prevent a "snatch and grab."
- Apply your Texas driver's license number or another ID number to tools, bikes, etc. to help recover items if they are stolen. The numbers need to be engraved and/or permanently applied.
- Keep garage doors closed and keep all tools and yard items put away when not in use.
- Join a neighbor watch group and get involved in your community.
- Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed, so there is no place for someone to hide. Keep a clear view.
- Make sure you write down all makes, models, and serial numbers of your property. That way if they are stolen, they can be reported to the police properly and it can help recover the items.
During the busy holiday shopping season, criminals are also "shopping." Be sure to stay alert when rushing from store to store to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
The Lago Vista Police Department urges shoppers to use the following safety tips, regardless of where they shop, to keep your holiday shopping trip safe one.
The holiday shopping season is upon us and the Lago Vista Police Department would like to encourage everyone to practice good crime prevention techniques to help us reduce crime and reduce the potential of becoming a victim. We hope that the tips provided in this brochure will help ensure a safer holiday season. The three main things that we want every person to remember are:
- Be prepared.
- Be informed.
- Be safe
Preparing to Shop
- Allow extra time to accommodate traffic congestion and crowded stores. If you are shopping with family and friends, carpooling will reduce the amount of traffic and can be an extra set of eyes and ears for personal safety.
- Dress casually and comfortably, and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Always carry your driver’s license or identification along with the necessary checks or credit cards you expect to use.
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card when possible.
- Keep cash in your front pocket. When possible, shop in areas which you are familiar with.
- Prepare a personal plan in case you are robbed. Personal safety items such as a cell phone, car alarm switch, and pepper spray are immediately accessible.
- Be prepared for anything. Carry jumper cables, a spare tire, a jack, tire tools, ice scrapers, emergency food and water, blankets, etc., in your car.
- Be aware of your surroundings, both inside and outside the store.
- Never leave your purse unattended. Carry only essentials in your purse and leave the remainder locked in the trunk of your vehicle.
- Ensure your vehicle is locked and packages are secured before leaving it.
- Carry your purse strapped across your body, not hanging on your shoulder.
- When using a public restroom, be cautious of your surroundings. Please do not place any items on the floor as they may be easily accessible to someone reaching under the door.
- Shop during daylight hours when possible. If not, park in well-lit areas of the parking lot.
- Do not overload yourself with items to carry.
- Keep your receipts and destroy any copies that could be used to obtain credit card numbers, driver’s license
Post Shopping and Personal Safety
- Keep packages hidden in the trunk of your vehicle as you travel from store to store. Do not keep visible packages in your vehicle.
- Keep at least one hand free when walking between your vehicle and the store.
- Scan the area you are traveling to and from thoroughly before entering an unfamiliar location and placing yourself in a bad situation.
- Have a plan for everything you are doing and a backup plan in the event you are attacked.
- Remain alert at all times and trust your instincts or your sixth sense (if you feel like you are in danger, you may be).
- Have your keys ready and walk with confidence. (If you look and act like a victim, you may become one). Robbers assault the easiest and most vulnerable prey.
- Utilize the available resources at hand. Don’t be afraid to call the police or a store security guard and have them escort you to the parking lot or somewhere you feel safe.
- Walk around your vehicle and look inside before entering your car.
- Load your items into the vehicle quickly and lock yourself inside.
- Always carry a charged cell phone with you, and don’t be afraid to call 911.
- Report any suspicious circumstances you observed to the police or store security personnel.
- If you see anything suspicious, please take the time to tell security so they can investigate and possibly prevent someone else from being victimized.
- If attacked, be a good witness. Use your best judgment on how to react to the situation. Remember that your life is worth more than the amount of money you have in your possession.
Parking Lot Etiquette and Safety
- Drive in the right direction. Pay attention and notice if the aisle is one-way or two-way.
- Use your turn signals. Blinkers show others the intended direction of your vehicle, protect your car, and allow pedestrians to make safe judgments when walking through parking lots.
- Don’t wait. Waiting for people to walk to their car, load their belongings, return the cart, get in, turn on their ignitions, and back out to get a prime parking spot causes an unnecessary traffic jam. If you park further away and walk the extra distance, it will probably take less time.
- Obey speed limits. Most parking lots have posted speed limits, but if there isn’t one posted, keep it to 15 mph.
- Park Courteously. It only takes up one space. Park in the center of the space to allow cars on both sides to park and passengers to get out of their cars safely. If you drive a long vehicle, make sure you pull your car into the space or park in a location further away from other cars.
- Never park in a space reserved for people with disabilities UNLESS you have a permit, placard, or handicapped parking plates.
Last but not least, don't let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Make time to get together with family, friends, and neighbors and think about reaching out in the spirit of the season and helping someone who is less fortunate.
The Lago Vista Police Department wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!