Huntsville police advise shoppers to stay safe
MADISON COUNTY – During the Christmas season through Dec. 31, Huntsville Police Department officers will patrol parking lots of malls and shopping centers. However, shoppers should be aware of ways to protect themselves.
“Huntsville police will monitor parking lots with dedicated patrols in all major retail areas to ensure our citizens and visitors enjoy a safe holiday,” communications relations officer Dr. Harry Hobbs. The department also is offering crime prevention tips for maximum safety.
Shoppers should stay alert and aware of surroundings constantly. “Knowing who and what is around you will help you avoid being caught unaware,” Hobbs said.
Police urge shoppers to display confidence by walking briskly, scanning surroundings and making eye contact with other people. “Criminals choose the victim who looks like the easiest target,” Hobbs said. “Trust your instincts, allowing you to react immediately.”
Shopper should only carry essential items. “Extra cash, credit cards, checks, jewelry and other items should be left at home and not in your vehicle,” Hobbs said. To avoid pickpockets, a man should place his wallet in a front pocket.
Carrying numerous shopping bags increases a shopper’s vulnerability. Shopping with other people dramatically reduces the chance of becoming a victim.
“Have your keys in hand when walking to your vehicle,” Hobbs said. “Use the alarm or alert button to signal if something is wrong.”
Shoppers should park in good lighting and in areas with plenty of activity. Never park by dumpsters or tall shrubs that limit vision. Valuables in a car should be kept out of view. Before unlocking the car, look in the back seat.
“If you feel uncomfortable walking to your vehicle, most malls will provide a security escort upon request,” Hobbs said.
To contact Huntsville Police Department, call 256-722-7100. To file a police report, call 256-427-7009 or 256-427-7114.