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          SAFETY WHILE SHOPPING        

                                             By John M. Carpino

With the Holidays just around the corner, this is a busy time of year for you, the police, and criminals. Below are some Holiday Shopping Tips designed to keep the season merry for you and us (the police), and not so cheery for the bad guy.

* Keep your purse under your arm and your wallet in an inside pocket.

* If you feel someone has just bumped into you, it might not be as innocent as you think. Thieves divert your attention and intentionally bump you in order to distract you and steal your wallet or purse. The thieves may travel as a couple and even dress up for the occasion.

* Be alert when using revolving doors. Some thieves will stop the revolving door and leave just enough space to reach in and take your purse while you are trapped.

* Also, don't be fooled by someone who appears to be stuck in a revolving door. While you take on the role of Good Samaritan the bad guy just took your purse.

* Carry a fanny pack type purse and never leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart, unless you don't mind being a victim.

* AT the airport keep an eye on your purse as it goes thru the scanner. Often someone is waiting at the other end to retrieve it as a companion is causing a delay.

* Avoid carrying large sums of cash. Also don't carry too many credit cards.

* Don't leave your credit cards in your car; an alarming amount of credit card thefts are from glove compartments.

* If someone stops you for directions, either on foot or from a motor vehicle, explain to them you are unfamiliar with the area. A con may just be keeping you busy to divert your attention while his female companion is stealing your wallet or vice versa.

* Secure your packages in the trunk and never park in an unlit area. For more information concerning parking safely see our earlier article: PARK SMART.

* If you drive a Sport Utility Vehicle and your spare tire is mounted under the vehicle-take note! These spare tires are being stolen at record numbers. The thief is able to either loosen the unit with a tire iron via a ,hole in your rear bumper or simply use a bolt cutter. The thief wants your tire so he can sell it off for fast cash, usually to support a drug addiction. These tires are difficult if not impossible to trace due to the lack of identifiable numbers.

* Carry a cell phone and report all suspicious activity to the local police.

* Thieves have no jurisdictional boundaries and travel as far as they have to in order to make a score. Don't be a victim! Pay attention to your surroundings and if it looks like a thief, sounds like a thief, it is a THIEF.

* Thieves like to travel to quiet and affluent communities as there is more to steal and nice people always leave their car door unlocked for the thief. Nobody thinks anything bad is going to happen in "their" neighborhood.

Safety Cops say thieves like to leave their neighborhood because all of the Cops know `em and you have bigger and better stuff to steal in your neighborhood. Follow these tips and don't make it easy for them.

                Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!  


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