As we approach the festive season, shopping centres will be busier than usual and it is important that shoppers keep their wits – and their belongings – about them.
It is a good idea to carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets. Martin Kriel, Managing Director of ADT Security East Coast Region suggested leaving any unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home.
“A packed clothing store or supermarket is the prime hunting-ground for a pick-pocket or bag-snatcher. Never leave your handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley. If you don’t use a bag or are not taking one along, keep your wallet or purse in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers.”
If you need to draw money at an ATM, it is best to use a machine in a busy area.
“Put your money in your purse or wallet before you walk away from the ATM,” said Kriel. “If you think someone has followed you from the machine, walk into the nearest shop or up to a mall security guard if you spot one nearby.”
He added that your safety outside the mall is just as important as it is inside. It is vital that you keep your wits about you when walking the distance between the exit and your car, especially at night and even more so if you are alone.
“Before you exit the mall, have your key ready so that you don’t waste any time getting your purchases and yourself into your car. This also means that you’ll be able to hold tightly onto your handbag while walking. If someone does try to snatch your handbag, let it go. Do not resist or fight back.”
Kriel suggested that if you use public transport, you try to complete your shopping earlier rather than later. He added that it is a good idea to check the timetable ahead of your trip to the shops so that you don’t have to wait too long at a bus stop or train station.