Shop safely this holiday season

There’s only a week before Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season. Stores will be flooded with shoppers searching for the perfect gifts for family and friends. The chaos of congested parking lots, the struggle of getting through the crowds, standing in line for what seems like an eternity and then FINALLY, being able to return home to tranquility can be overwhelming. The Farmington Police Department wants to remind citizens, that during all the hectic holiday hustle and bustle, it’s important to slow down and be aware of your surroundings. Help reduce your chances of falling victim to a crime 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.