As holiday season kicks off, police remind shoppers to be aware of surroundings

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The holiday shopping season kicks off this weekend and police want shoppers to have a safe experience.

As crime stats continue to rise, police can’t express the importance of being aware of your surroundings enough.

As millions plan to head to the stores this weekend, the criminals won’t be left behind.

“Make a plan of activities and place that you want to visit that way you know where you are going, what your intent is and how to go about things,” Detective Eddie Cripps with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office told News 2.

He said law enforcement works together to keep a watchful eye on shoppers during the season, but prevention of crime can start with you and your first steps at home with finding a shopping partner.

“If you keep your group or your family, friends with you, you can have a festive time and certainly be much safer that way,” he said.

Det. Cripps also recommends downsizing your purse or bag.

“That way you can have the items that you need there. You don’t have to rifle around within the purse itself,” he said.

Once you arrive at your destination, park in well-lit areas, away from shrubbery or walls where people will may lurk or prey upon you.

He also said to always carry your keys in your hand. Not only can you get into your car quicker, you can sound the panic button if needed and use them as a tool for protection.

“If you are approached by someone who you may be concerned about if you need to defend yourself in some sort of manner you can use your keys to do that,” said Cripps.

He also said it’s important to remember once your shopping spree is over that you still aren’t free from becoming a victim.

“Recently we’ve had some issues with automobile burglaries in several different neighborhoods and that can be attributed to the holidays generally this time of year. So we all have to be mindful and remain vigilant; locking our homes, locking our cars, storing valuable in automobiles, just keeping them covered up those type things,” he said.

Cripps said to also be cautious of what you post on social media.

You could be a red flag for criminals by posting about items you have purchased or about going shopping for the day.

He also mentioned that identity fraud is big concern, so it’s important to keep a record of all your purchases in case you become a victim.