As we begin to think about gift giving, we must also remember to keep ourselves and our purchases safe from thieves who may be waiting for that perfect opportunity to take what is not theirs. The City of Peoria has plenty of great shopping areas for you to search for that perfect holiday gift.
When you head out to shop, consider stowing your license, credit card and a small amount of cash on your person or in a pocket and take a separate bag with you for flyers, snacks, coupons and purchases. Keep your cell phone in your pocket, away from your shopping bag. This way, if your bag gets lost or stolen, you have your cell phone handy to call for help.
Park in a well-lit area and remember where you parked your car so that you are not distracted when you exit the store. Most parking lots have numbered rows or isles to help you locate your vehicle. Before entering or exiting a store, end your cell phone conversations and note your surroundings. Keep your keys in your hand until you enter the store and have them ready when you exit. Do not become distracted; focus on your surroundings. Walk with confidence, keeping your bags close to you.If you feel vulnerable or note someone suspicious, head back into the store or towards a large group of people, make eye contact with them and wave. This will attract attention to you and anyone around you so that potential thieves are aware they are being watched.
At your vehicle, load your purchases first, then your children and yourself. Start your vehicle and exit the parking lot right away, do not stay in your vehicle and check your phone; this leaves you vulnerable to thieves. Do not store items in your vehicle or in your trunk and then return to the store. Thieves wait for just this type of opportunity to take your items once you are out of sight and back into the store. Do not leave purses, packages, laptops, phones or other valuables in plain sight inside your vehicle. Remember that thieves can see these items and there is only one piece of glass between them and your valuables. Finally, always remember to lock your vehicle and double check to be sure there is nothing of value left in plain sight.
The Peoria Police Department wants you to enjoy your holiday shopping by staying safe and alert.