This is the time of year when we need to think seriously about not becoming a victim of crime. As everyone starts to think about the fast approaching Holiday Season, and it’s getting dark earlier, our safety needs to be a part of our routine. The best way to make safety a priority is by simply by constantly being aware of our surroundings and utilize some basic rules:

  1. Make it a practice to make sure your cell phone is charged and you have easy access. Having your cell phone buried in the bottom of your pocketbook makes it difficult to find in an emergency.
  2. Try to run errands and shop with somebody else. I know that at times it’s tough to schedule but this makes it more enjoyable and safer.
  3. Do not get so focused on your phone that you are unaware of your surroundings. When you are going to send a text or read emails, make sure you are in a safe place and don’t forget you are in a public place.
  4. When parking your vehicle try to park in a well-lighted area. Also, have a clear path to the entrance doors.
  5. Remember exactly where you are parked. It’s extremely dangerous to be walking around a dark parking lot trying to find your car. There are phone apps that can even let you know exactly where your car is parked.
  6. As you leave the mall and head out to the parking lot have your keys accessible and plan for placing your purchases in your vehicle in a quick and deliberate way. If you are trying to make space in your backseat and leave your items in the cart, a thief might try to make off with your purchase while you are trying to get organized.
  7. Make sure that you conceal all packages that are in your car. Criminal will look for items in parked cars and will make entry.
  8. Always double check that all doors are locked and outside lights are on. This is especially true with it getting darker earlier in the day.
  9. Make sure your vehicle is safe and you have enough gas to get home.
  10. Lastly, think strategically and plan before you go. Allowing yourself time to map out your trips will allow you to make them safer and more enjoyable.

Crime Prevention Tips from Dan Barry, Campus College Chair, Criminal Justice, University of Phoenix