Black Friday is right around the corner bringing with it sales too good to pass up and unfortunately, the perfect opportunity for thieves to prey on holiday shoppers. But fear not, Farmington Police Department will be conducting their annual Operation Christmas Caper. This high profile, zero tolerance operation began in 1998 and was designed to create a safer shopping environment and deter potential criminal activity.
This year’s operation will begin on November 28 and continue until December 24, which is the traditional time of year that has the highest incidents of shoplifting. During this time, FPD will provide an increased police presence around Animas Valley Mall and the shopping areas from Big R to Lowe’s. Stores participating in Operation Christmas Caper will be displaying signs with the FPD badge wearing a Christmas hat.
Citizens can also help minimize the risk of falling victim to predators by taking safety precautions when shopping:
~Stay alert to your surroundings. Don’t let your guard down while taking a phone call or answering a text message.
~Shop during daylight hours when possible. When shopping at night, take someone with you, park in a well-lit area and as close as possible to the store.
~Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Keep small amounts of cash in your front pocket.
~Only carry the credit/debit card that you will be using to shop.
~Avoid overloading yourself with packages.
~Do not place your purse in the shopping cart; keep it on your person and maintain a secure hold at all times.
~Do not leave packages in your vehicle; lock them in the trunk or take them home immediately if possible.
~Do not lock packages in the trunk and then go back into the same store; change shopping locations.
~Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the surrounding area and back seat before getting in.
~Do not approach your vehicle alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
~Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. During this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
While practicing these safety tips can help minimize the risk of falling victim to predators, there is no absolute guarantee to safeguard against a determined criminal. If you find yourself victim of a crime, report it immediately.