15 Tips For Staying Safe While Out Shopping


Burglars know that shoppers are out shopping during the holiday season, and look for easy targets and vulnerabilities to exploit.

Here are a few common-sense tips to reduce the odds of becoming a victim…

1. Eliminate any signs that you are gone. Make your house look like you are home. Leave some lights on. Leave the TV or radio on.

2. Don’t tweet or facebook your social status that you are out shopping.

3. Maintain situational awareness of what is happening around you.

4. Don’t daydream while you’re walking around.

5. Keep your head up and look around you. Look confident.

6. Avoid walking around with your head down in your smart phone while texting.

7. Shoppers should always keep one hand free. When you are carrying a lot of bags or packages in both hands, you are more vulnerable.

8. When you are out shopping, go with someone else. Shop in pairs. Thieves are less likely to strike when there are a lot of people around.

9. Ladies, avoid carrying a purse. Instead, just carry your ID and payment in your pocket. You might consolidate those things (including additional necessities) into a smaller wallet which could drop into your pocket while shopping. You could keep your purse in the trunk of the car if you must bring it with you.

10. Carry pepper spray. Particularly when going to and from a parking lot, carry it in your hand while walking towards your vehicle. It is convenient to attach to your key-ring.

11. Have your car keys out and ready BEFORE you get to your car.

12. If you are licensed to carry a firearm, do so. It is your ultimate protection. If you are not, then you might consider looking into it.

13. If you are carrying a lot of packages back to your car, look around you. See if anyone is watching you loading packages into your car.

14. Put purchases in the trunk, out of sight. Not in your back seat.

15. Shoppers who are out late should park in well-lit areas.


    1. Agreed. Even though many of these are common-sense, it’s good to review. Especially ‘situational awareness’.

  1. Criminals are watching for women leaving cars without purses. If not carrying a purse they suspect the purse is in the car or trunk and break in. They also watch for individuals putting packages in cars and then going back in to shop or when arriving repositioning packages or purse to the trunk. Police recommend having packages in place before arriving at a destination or if you have to go back in and shop, to drive the car to another lot to give the illusion that you are leaving.

    1. Leave the purse home. I don’t understand why women need to bring all that stuff anyway.

    2. Good points, another good one is try to shop early in the day, avoiding going out after dark unless really necessary. Same for eating out, instead go at noon. Ladies can use an over the body purse which lays flat on the front of you while your shopping. Never leave purse in shopping cart.

  2. Lady’s if you feel you being followed seek a group of people and tell them what is going on. Never try to handle the situation yourself. If your in a store and feel your being watched or followed stay in the store, don’t leave and advise management of the situation. Predators seek the INDIVIDUAL not groups to pray on so there is strength in numbers. ALWAYS keep in mind that you could become a victim at any time and be prepared by having some kind of defensive weapon. Even Pepper spray is better than nothing but I wouldn’t want to give them a “rash” thus the reason I carry a firearm. Granted a lot of people wont carry and those are the ones the criminal is looking for……the helpless.

  3. Great article.The police arrested 4 ,17y.o.who were purse stealing at the grocery store and retailer parking lots during the woman put up a fight with one of the purse snatchers and got a good description of the thug and car.So the police did stakeoutd of the parking lots and did catch them.All four were average looking white guys,nice haircuts,but were carrying a pistol and drugs,too

    1. Shopping online is definitely safer though you don’t get to really browse and touch the product. The real downside to online shopping is the fact that you hurt the economy and cause people to lose jobs by doing it. The more people that shop online the less brick and mortar business there are and that means less people that go to work,make money,spend money ect. Look at Circuit City and Best Buy as examples, thousands of people laid off. Online shopping supports corporate greed to the fullest. They don’t need to stock anything as it ships from the manufacture. They don’t need to handle it,don’t pay rent,utilities,payroll,medical benefits ect they just advertise and collect the money. Have you ever wondered WHY things are cheaper online? Its because they don’t have to pay your neighbors salary. Shop at the smaller Mom and Pop stores. They are safer ( most of the time ) and 100% of the money you spend stay’s in the community.

      1. Some businesses have huge warehouses and lots of employees to fill orders. For some workers this could be safer as the public has no access to their place of work. Orders are done electronically so there is not the cash to steal or rob. Irate customers do not confront the employee in person. Any threats to employees from customers are done electronically.

  4. Another thing to consider is checking to make sure your not being followed home. This past weekend a co-worker from my job left the parking garage headed home and noticed she was being followed. She made a call to the state police and they pulled over the following vehicle. She circled back and watched as the troopers arrested the drive. After speaking with the troopers she learned the man had priors for rape, he had a pistol in his car which happened to be stolen. Had she not noticed this man things might have ended differently. BTW, she was legally carrying a .40 H & K.

    1. If you think you are being followed in your car after shopping do the three “r’s”. That’s make a right turn at a stopsigh, go to the next stop and turn right, go to the next stop and turn right again. If they are still behind you call the police or go to a CROWDED place and call the police. NEVER try to handle the situation yourself even if you are armed. I was followed one time and done the three “r’s” and sure enough I was followed so I called the police and told them I was being followed and gave them the street I was on. They pulled the guy over and I stopped WAY AHEAD and watched. When the police had the situation under control I then proceeded to tell them what was going on. Come to find out this guy was wanted by the police for warrants for strong armed robbery. he was carrying not only a pistol but a sawed off shotgun under his seat. If I would of not known what to do I could of been robbed or even killed for what I had in my truck. A lot of times you WILL be followed after shopping so use this method of seeing if you are actually being followed and NEVER try to handle the situation yourself as it could be fatal.

  5. Thanks to ALL; I was followed last night but did not know what to do … a man in a pickup truck pulled up behind me at a gas station, leaving the truck on, did not buy gas and then followed me when I left. Luckily, I was able to lose him.

  6. Wear clothes for good mobility. The woman in the parka length coat will not trip over it, the color is neutral, and it covers her butt. Less likely to be be grabbed in the buttocks. I just donated a too long coat that caused me to trip and fall and get stuck in the snow. I try for coats that cover the butt so I do not stand out as much – this is not sexist or blame, but it is what it is. Just like a man will get pulled over with an Anarchy T shirt. I was stupid to buy that very long coat as I was trying to climb a snowbank to cross the street next to an unploughed sidewalk, and several large vehicles were passing by. There is no legal crosswalk and I had to get to my office. A taller person may buy the coat from the charity shop. It was not my fault but it was stupid of me especially as I get older and more klutzy to buy a long coat.

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