Staying safe while holiday shopping

Crowded stores, dark parking lots, and presents in your car can all be safety hazards
Parkersburg Police Chief Matthew Board shares some safety tips for holiday shopping!
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 8:19 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - When it comes to holiday shopping, some people may be starting and others may be finishing up.

People will be going out later to enjoy the longer holiday shopping hours, and with the season, it’s getting darker earlier.

Crowded stores, dark parking lots, and presents in your car can all be safety hazards.

Parkersburg Police Chief Matthew Board shared some tips on how to stay safe while out and about this holiday season.

If you’re going to be parking in a parking lot, Chief Board suggests parking closer to the front.

“...There’s generally a lot more lighting there, cameras there and quite honestly, just more people there. So, all three of those things kind of deter crime in and of themselves, cause those committing crimes don’t like to be seen. So, just staying in a well lit area and and more populated keeps you safe.”

And with holiday shopping comes crowded stores. This can lead to your wallet or purse being stolen. Board said more often, it’s women being these victims.

Board explained that in these situations, someone is leaving the purse or wallet in the shopping cart, and then walking away - either to look at something, going to another isle, or just trying to avoid maneuvering a buggy in a congested aisle.

“The the purse is right there for the taking. So, I know it’s uncomfortable... I know they’re heavy, but it’s best just to carry them with you.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you become a victim to these crimes, there are different steps you can take.

If you’re approached in a parking lot, Board says to get to wherever is safest. That could mean the store or the car - depending on what’s closer.

“...Of course, just go ahead and give your local agency wherever you’re at... and we’ll respond and try to assist in any way we can.”

Board also gave a suggestion people can do now, to help mitigate damages incase your wallet is stolen.

“Something that I would suggest is also having numbers written down for all your credit cards or debit cards. If they were stolen, you don’t have to research and get those numbers. The quicker you can get them cancelled and stopped the less last time people have to steal money from your account.”

Board said they typically see crimes regarding property and car thefts around this time of year.

Keep your cars locked. Try to have your your driveways well lit at home. Keep your outbuildings locked

Board also pointed out scams.

If somebody calls you or sends you something on the internet and it just doesn’t seem right, give us a call. We can check into it, help you out with that the best we can or. Or, [you can] just don’t respond to it.”