Tips on Staying Safe & Alert During the Busy Holiday Shopping Season
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s likely that you’ll be headed out to undertake any and all necessary shopping. The most notable amount of shopping, beyond purchasing decorations, a tree, and the ingredients for the family meal, will be done with gifts in mind. You’ll be out with millions of other people, entering one store and another to find the perfect gift for your children, friends, parents, and others.
The unfortunate truth is that you’re more likely to be targeted by a thief this time of year. Whether it’s your vehicle, home, wallet, or gifts, thieves are out on the prowl looking for an unsuspecting, unwitting person they can steal from. This is an unsettling truth, but you, as a consumer, can use it to your own advantage. In particular, you can properly prepare yourself with proper self-defense techniques and non-lethal weapons prior to the holiday season to stay both safe and alert while out shopping. This will help ensure your personal protection above all else.
Shopping Hours and Being Alone
The holidays are a wonderful time full of natural beauty and friendly love, but they are a time when people are out later than normal, especially during a time of year that is categorically darker (thanks to the end of daylight savings time). There are many different reasons you could be out later this time of year, from a work holiday party to simply having a get-together with friends to ring in the holiday season, but a more common reason is shopping.
This time of year, many stores have their hours extended to make it easier for all folks to shop without stress, especially those who work full-time. This means that stores are open later, and people who are shopping are wandering out in mall parking lots later than normal. Furthermore, the employees of said stores are getting out of work much later and are left to walk to their vehicles in the dead of night.
While this might sound like little cause for concern, it should be a worry in the back of your mind. Parking lots, especially older ones, are not usually well-lit, and they can be a notable site for thieves to flock to, whether waiting in the darkness or behind a person’s vehicle. Even if there is no one out there, it can lead to an uneasy feeling—not knowing what the dark is cloaking. Keeping pepper spray on hand is an easy and effective way to ward off potential attackers especially when it’s dark out. Some all in one pepper spray products are even equipped with flashlights to more accurately target the perpetrator in low light.
Why Thieves Come Out During the Holidays
Thieves tend to come out to prey during the holiday shopping season because of the hustle and bustle going on. People are usually out shopping for a full day at a time, storing already purchased gifts in their vehicles, storing large amounts of cash on themselves to fit within their budget, and regularly becoming fatigued while undertaking these ultramarathon-like shopping adventures.
Not only is the common shopper a perfect target for a thief, but thieves can be successful within large crowds of shoppers where they are able to blend in. After seeing so many people throughout the day and being beleaguered by the sight and thoughts of so many gifts, you might not remember the face of the person who bumped into you and took your wallet out from your bag with you never the wiser.
While you might notice more security guards and police out on patrol in and around shopping malls, there are many other emergency calls they have to attend to throughout the day. Altogether, this makes the holiday season a prime target for thieves. However, with some foresight, you can aptly protect yourself.
Protecting Your Identity While Shopping
Whether shopping online or in person, you might be at risk of identity theft along the way. The most common causes for in-person identify theft can come from someone seeing you insert your pin number when using an ATM and then swiping your card, swiping a credit card from your wallet or from the ground if dropped while shopping, or simply eyeing your card while you have it in hand at the register, memorizing both the card number, expiration date, and security code.
Online, hackers can easily steal your information when you are making purchases from sites that are unprotected and unsecured—sites that do not have various blockchain security methods to keep your identity secure while shopping online. To guarantee a financial self-defense plan, you should keep a few mental notes:
- Cover your hand while typing in your debit card pin number at an ATM or register.
- Do not leave your debit or credit card sitting out where it can be readily seen by strangers.
- Regularly check your wallet whenever returning to your vehicle or a safe location, making sure your cards and personal information are still on your person.
- When shopping online, only make purchases through websites that are secure.
Park Safe and Smart
When out shopping, it’s likely that you’ll need to find a parking spot around the store where you plan on shopping. Thieves will often target people while they are walking back to their cars alone, either snatching their wallet or their purchases as they pass by in the darkness of night.
To stay safe, you should make smart parking choices. Whether during the day or at night, you should try to park as close as you can to the store you are entering—limiting the distance you have to walk is a prime way to protect yourself. At The Home Security Superstore, there are a number of self-defense weapons that can help you feel more at ease when you’re out shopping alone. Stun batons and keychain weapons are two great non-lethal weapons that are both portable and effective in dangerous situations.
If you’re shopping at night, make sure to park in well-lit, public places, whether under a street lamp or near a larger lighting fixture. Thieves will tend to lurk in the darkness to remain unseen, so it’s better for you to park somewhere a potential thief could be seen with ease, making you much less of a likely target.
Furthermore, keep any personal possessions out of direct sight within your car. If you have just purchased gifts, consider storing them in your trunk rather than in full view of your backseat; if you are driving with a number of personal items, do not leave them out on your seats. Thieves will tend to look through the windows for high-price items on display.
Last, it’s best for you to guarantee that your car is locked every time you leave it alone. This involves setting the security system if your vehicle has one. Having a blinking light that lets a passerby know that your alarm is on is a great way to keep thieves away from your vehicle, as, again, the last thing they want to do is run the risk of bringing direct attention to themselves.
Female Targets over the Holiday Season
Statistically, women are more likely to be targets of assault. It’s a pitiful truth of our reality, but many women are regularly targeted by thieves, assaulters, and rapists as potential victims, whether for their size or for social conditioning that has led to them becoming overlooked victims.
The holiday season is a further sign of this, as many mothers will be out shopping for their families, while also taking care of many other holiday duties. Paired with regular statistics, this makes women a large target for assault during the holiday season. For this reason, women should ensure they are prepared prior to the holiday season, ready to defend both their finances and their bodies against a thief or potential assaulter. One of the best ways to undertake this preparation is to learn self-defense for women.
Self Defense for Women
When it comes to protecting yourself, there are a number of different ways to employ strategic devices to ensure your safety is paramount, above all else. Self-defense for women will usually involve a variety of methods that can be used to protect one against a potential assault from a man. Beyond the basic moves that can be employed, there are devices that can be used to further fend off attackers and thieves.
These devices, which can range from stun guns to keychain weapons, can be readily deployed in a second’s notice to either scare off an attacker or protect one against theft. Whether it’s an electric shock, launched pepper spray, or a swift hit from an expandable baton, all of these devices can be used to increase tactics of self-defense for women.
While it is best to follow along with whatever a thief tells you to do, as you never know what weapon they might have on them, it can be useful to have a self-defense weapon of your own. Under the worst circumstances, you can utilize one of these self-defense weapons to fight off an attacker, either incapacitating them entirely or beating them back, providing you with ample time to escape to safety, wherein you can seek out help from bystanders and local law enforcement.
Best Personal Safety Devices for Women
On top of having self-defense weapons on your person, it can be beneficial for women to utilize personal safety devices to protect themselves. Often consisting of hard-shell bags and ballistic guards, these devices can be used in conjunction with other products you already own to protect your wallet, gifts already purchased, and yourself. If someone is attempting to mug you or pulls a weapon out on you, these devices can be used as a last line of defense, keeping you safe in the event of any unfortunate circumstances.
Keeping Your Home Safe While You’re Out
Holiday shopping means you might be out of the house. Leaving your house alone means it can be susceptible to a possible break-in. Like your vehicle, your home is a target of theft during the holidays, due to the number of gifts that might be stored inside; furthermore, thieves expect it to be left alone at various points as your attention is focused elsewhere.
Before heading out shopping or to a family or work holiday event, you should take care to see that your home is safe and secure. Thieves often look for weak spots within your home, from a loose, unlocked window to a thin, poorly made door. Take the time to check that all of your windows and doors are locked and that any personal items are locked or stored away, out of sight. Also, keep your home well-lit, both inside and out, so strangers think there is someone home.
Last Word: Weather and Traveling
Beyond watching out for thieves and other criminals during the holiday shopping season, you should be concerned with your self-defense while traveling. The winter holidays can bring with it strange weather events, including severe windstorms, excessive sleet, black ice, extreme cold, and heavy snowfall. All of these conditions, when paired together, make for awful driving conditions. The truth is that a lot of people don’t know how to properly drive during the winter months, and their minds are often elsewhere prior to heading into a mall or store.
For this reason, it is important you drive with self-defense in mind. You can’t control the way drivers around you travel, but you can be on the defensive to keep yourself safe under any conditions. Your best options when driving in the winter involve some of the following rules:
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Always ensure that your tires are properly inflated and that both your lights and windshield wipers are working.
- Drive slowly when it gets increasing cold out, looking out for slick spots on the road.
- Give fellow drivers enough room.
- Keep your hands on the wheel and remain reactive—your best defense is to remain aware.
The holiday season is a busy time, but you shouldn’t let yourself zone out while shopping and traveling. Keep your wits and stay safe while heading from home to store to party. It’ll lead to you being able to enjoy your holiday season with ease. With our wide selection of self-defense weapons, you’ll be sure to find the perfect product to put you at ease during the busy holiday season! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a knowledgeable Home Security Superstore representative.