The Canton Police Department will be increasing its patrols at local shopping centers and stores beginning Friday, Nov. 23 through Dec. 24, according to a news release from the department.
In addition to regular patrols, police officers will utilize bicycles and semi-marked patrol cars to maintain high visibility in parking lots and storefronts in an attempt to deter criminal activity, the news release said.
Shoppers are reminded to stay alert while in stores and parking lots.
“It’s easy to get distracted while shopping during the holidays,” Special Services Lieutenant Todd Mutchler said. “To decrease your odds of becoming a victim, you should be aware of your surroundings and your belongings at all times."
The following basic safety precautions are being offered to shoppers:
- Coordinate shopping trips with a friend. Never park in an unlit area, no matter how convenient it is.
- Don’t leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart.
- Lock your packages and bags in your vehicle’s trunk. Keep your doors locked and windows closed.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check, credit or debit card when possible.
- To discourage purse snatchers, don’t overburden yourself with packages. Make several smaller trips back to your vehicle.
- Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Avoid carrying a purse if possible, and keep your wallet in an inside jacket pocket.
- Teach children to go to a store clerk or security guard to ask for help if they become separated from you. They should never go to the parking lot alone.
- If you feel you’re being followed or watched in a parking lot, go back inside the store and ask for security.
Additional holiday safety tips are available on the department’s website at www.cantonpublicsafety.org.