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Bakersfield Police Department offers holiday shopping safety tips


Shoppers crowded the Valley Plaza mall on Black Friday looking for the perfect gift and starting the holiday shopping season for 2012.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the Bakersfield Police Department is reminding the community to be extra cautious while shopping.

"It is important to remember that shoppers can be particularly vulnerable to crimes, such as, theft, robbery, and assault," the department said on Facebook. "By taking precautions and having a plan before going out this holiday season, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim."

To help avoid vulnerability, BPD has provided some safety tips for the holiday shopping season:

  1. Be alert: Being aware of your surroundings at all times helps you avoid being surprised and gives you time to react if something appears suspicious.
  2. Display confidence: Criminals choose victims who look like easy targets. BPD says if you walk with purpose, scan the area around you, and make casual eye contact with others, you are displaying confidence.
  3. Trust your instincts: Your body usually tells you when something is wrong. Trust your gut. If you have an intuitive feeling something is wrong, do not second-guess yourself.
  4. Carry only what you need: Extra cash, credit cards, checks, jewelry and other valuable items should be left at home, BPD says. Keep purses small and in front of your body. Men, keep wallets in your front pockets to avoid pickpocketing. Don't leave purses or wallets in a shopping cart.
  5. Shop with others: The chance of being victimized drops dramatically when shopping with others. Teach kids to go to a store clerk or security guard if they get separated.
  6. Be prepared: Have your keys in hand when walking to your vehicle, and carry a whistle to alert those around you if something is wrong.
  7. Plan ahead: Plan out the locations of the stores you want to shop at. Park in well-lit and high activity areas, keep all windows closed and doors locked and leave valuables hidden.

"Remember that criminals are opportunists. Don’t give them an opportunity and stay alert at all times," says BPD, on Facebook. 

Happy (safe) holiday shopping.

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