Here are some tips to that can help to keep you safe while shopping.
Take a friend or family member with you. [Be certain that the person you bring along is equally aware of the safety tips in this article.]
Be Prepared on the Road
Make sure that you have enough gas in your car, and an emergency road kit available for any road hazards you might encounter.
Carry a cell phone with a fully-charged battery and have important numbers ready for speed dialing.
It may be difficult to find an ideal parking place, but do the best you can. Choose a busy area to park, even if you don’t like the nearby store. Make sure the parking space is (will be) well-lit at night. Make note of where you’ve parked, so you don’t have to do any unnecessary wondering around when you’re finished shopping.
There are smartphone apps available that can be used to mark your parking spot using GPS technology. Another method is to take photos of where you park using a camera phone.
Avoid Suspicious People
If you feel that you are being followed, or if you have good reason to be uncomfortable with someone, go to the store manager’s office or security station and explain your situation.
Avoid counting your money publicly, and don’t openly flash it when making purchases. Keep your voice down when giving out any personal information to the cashier (e.g. phone number, street address…). Also, make sure that you’re not overheard while talking on the phone (e.g. “Bob’s out of town, so I’m home alone tonight…” or “I finally bought that diamond necklace.”).
Hide Your Goodies
Hide expensive items well inside your shopping bag. If possible, avoid or hide bags that are too descriptive of their contents (e.g. electronic stores). If you must take items out to your car, discreetly put them in the trunk. Be sure valuable items cannot be seen by looking through your vehicle’s windows.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your head up and look around, even if you’re otherwise alert. You need to send a clear signal to others that you know what’s going on around you.
Leaving the Store
If you feel unsafe in anyway when you’re ready to leave the store, ask the store manager to have someone walk with you out to your vehicle. If this is not possible, call a friend, neighbor, or family member to come and get you.
When walking to your car, remember to keep your head up and look around. If you have a car remote that activates your vehicle’s horn or has remote engine start, use it. It may make a would-be attacker think that someone is waiting for you in your car. As soon as you’ve opened your door, immediately lock the door then pull it closed! This way, all you have to do is pull your already-locked door closed if someone tries to grab you.
If you are approached in a threatening manner, make all the noise you can, and do whatever it takes to make yourself safe. Many attackers are looking for a victim not a challenge. Fight back!
If you have any reason to believe you are being followed while driving home, don’t go straight to your house. Instead, go to the nearest police station or a safe, public place where you can get help.
Have a safe shopping trip!