As females, and as moms, it is important that we are on guard to protect ourselves and our families. This is a crazy world we live in. With that being said, I for one don’t want it to stop me from going out and showing my family the amazing places and things that it has to offer. But, crime can happen anywhere. Even at the playground while you are pushing your d child on the swing.
That is what happened to me. A teenage kid reached over my daughter playing on a bench and stole my friend’s bag. Luckily, it was her lunch bag and not her purse with all her money and identification. But, when I called the police to report the theft, the local neighborhood school went on lockdown. There was an elementary school less than a few hundred feet away.
So, this got me thinking – How can I as a parent of young kids be safer? I joined up with our local police department and hosted a safety forum, “Your Safety Matters: Tips for Parents & Kids” with our local police department. They shared their 12 shopping and travel safety tips that are important to keep in mind and commit to habit. These tips are helpful for you to avoid being a target of robbery or assault when shopping and traveling.
Learn The 12 Shopping and Travel Safety Tips You Won’t Want to Forget
12. Have high situational awareness. Get off the phone. Keep scanning your surroundings and be aware. If something feels or looks off – go back into the store, call the police and let them decide the best way to handle the situation.
11.. There is safety in numbers. Shop with a buddy. Ask a friend, family member, or significant other to go with you on your shopping excursion or exploring a city.
10. Leave your kids at home (if you can). Children have a ton of needs and can cause a lot of distractions, which makes for great opportunities for people who want them. Moms are the easiest targets, unfortunately. Since you are likely shopping for your children anyway, leave them at home.
9. Make eye contact with the people around you. Rather than having your head down, let them know that you see them. Criminals do not like to be identified.
8. Don’t close down the mall, shopping center, museum, or attraction. Leaving a dark building at night isn’t the best idea, but maybe that is the only time you can get your shopping done? Ask the security guard to escort you to your car. They will gladly do it!
7. Park your car near the front door or under a light in the parking lot.
6. Don’t bring all your credit cards, cash, or passport with you while shopping or exploring. You probably have an idea of how much you are going to spend, so just bring one card or that amount of cash with you.
5. If you are out all day shopping at different stores, don’t leave your bags in plain sight. Put your bags in the trunk of your car, and do it before you get to your next destination.
4. This one is a no-brainer, but it happens all the time – don’t leave your purse, phone, or wallet in the car or overhead compartment of an airplane – keep it with you at all times.
3. Don’t leave your purse in the shopping cart, on a bench, or on the floor while browsing for potential items to buy. A criminal will take advantage of your trusting nature and snag it easily.
2. Carry your cell phone in your front pocket if you can. If your purse gets stolen, you may still be able to have a phone to call for help and home.
1. Have your keys in hand before you even leave the store. If someone grabs your purse, at least you can get home or into your hotel – or even use your keys as a weapon if you are able to commit to handling that level of protection (think eyes).
I am obviously a fan of taking my children to as many new places as possible. That is why having keen situational awareness of your surroundings and making a smart decision about your belonging can help you stay safer and avoid being a target when you are out and about exploring and traveling.
If you find these tips helpful, please share them around to your friends and family so that we can all make smart decisions and be aware, as much as possible.
*Thank so much to my local Police Department’s Crime Prevention Team for all the helpful information and commitment to keeping our community as safe as possible.