Crime prevention Tips when shopping

A predator on the street always looks for the easy victim, those who are unable to offer any resistance when attacked. The crime could be anything from a robbery to a rape or worse. Women and senior citizens are a criminal’s favorite target.  Generally if you appear to be in excellent health and walk with a confident stride, the criminal might look for another victim. But there is no guarantee.

It’s always a good idea to go shopping with a friend. Shopping at night can be especially hazardous but there are steps you can take to minimize potential problems. First, park in the light. At a mall, park as close to the stores as possible. Don’t unlock your door until you look around for any suspicious persons nearby. Walk with the keys in your hand, always scanning the area. Any packages in your car should be in the trunk or not visible to people passing by.

Ladies, once in the store, maintain control of your purse or handbag at all times, A better way is to keep your folding money, credit cards, a check and driver’s license in a slim billfold in your pants pocket or in a hidden pocket somewhere on your body. A purse snatching can occur even in the store and the culprit, usually a young male, can make a dash for the exit. Women have been injured and killed trying to save their property. It isn’t worth it. And don’t wear expensive jewelry, such as a necklace.

It’s better to leave your purse or shoulder bag in the trunk of your car. You have all you need to complete your shopping, safely hidden in your clothing. Of course, if you feel the need to carry a cell phone and some kind of protection, like pepper spray, a purse would come in handy but these items can also be worn on the belt. You can dial 911 if time permits or use the pepper spray.

Know how to use your pepper spray. Police go through training to experience the effects of the spray and how to use it effectively. If confronted with an attacker, position yourself with the wind to your back. Otherwise, you will feel the full debilitating force of the pepper, which can cause medical problems in some seniors. Aim the spray or stream at the attacker’s face (the eyes). Then leave the scene at once and call for help. Be aware that some folks just get angry when hit with pepper spray and can still finish what they started. There are also devices you can use that give off a loud shrill noise and attract other shoppers nearby.

And there is always the gun option. I recommend this if you are physically fit and can handle a weapon in a shoot to kill situation. To obtain a concealed weapon license you have to pass a shooting test at a range  under a certified instructor. And you must train yourself to be ready psychologically to make that decision to use deadly force without hesitation.  Generally women, especially senior citizens, can justify deadly force against any male attacker, even if he is unarmed. But you have to be able to articulate the facts in court.

The caveat is that there are places you can’t carry a concealed weapon (in Florida). You can’t have a weapon if you are in a place that sells alcohol that can be imbibed on the premises, in a bank, (a mall), and a stadium where events are underway, to name a few.

When returning to your car with your packages, continue to keep an eye on your surroundings. Have your keys in hand, ready to open the door. If possible, walk to your car in the company of other shoppers. Look inside and make sure no one is hiding on the floor. Get in and lock your doors and keep them locked until you reach your destination. Make sure your travel route is well lit and busy.

Note: I’m qualified on a number of weapons and I carry one. Some years back I was involved in an armed attack at night and I’m still here because I had a gun. There is a responsibility and a burden on those who carry to always run through scenarios in your mind if you go anywhere. But you have to these days. Don’t carry a gun unless you are prepared to use it when necessary.


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