Tips from a Private Investigator: staying safe while holiday shopping

Posted Friday, December 6, 2013- 4:45 p.m.

The holidays are fast approaching which means people are flocking to the stores to stock up on presents.
But, with all the holiday commotion, you may be putting yourself at risk.
Simple things like leaving your shopping bags in the front seat of your car, or talking on your cell phone in the parking lot can put you in danger.

"The more people that come out here, the more I see people putting themselves at risk," said Private Investigator Steven Watson.

Steven Watson is a private investigator with Attoe-Watson and Company, and knows what actions can put people in danger.

"I have been involved in private investigating and security consulting for over 25 years," he said.

Watson says, one thing that just about everyone does; talking on your cell phone while walking to your car, can make you unaware of your surroundings, a perfect time for someone to attack.

"Look at her, she's talking on her phone, she's got her purse hanging in her hand," Watson explained.
"Yeah, I guess I am guilty of it too," said a shopper.

But some shoppers are doing it right, like Leslie Gonya, who carries everything important zipped up in her pockets.

"To stay safe, one of the big things I do is I just don't carry a purse. You can't take one if you don't have one," she said.

Watson says always being aware of your surroundings is key, and put your newly purchased items in your trunk or cover them up with a blanket.

"Female shoppers are leaving their purses in their cart along with the packages," he showed us.

A perfect time for a thief to strike.

"It makes it very easy for a person to drive up or walk by and steal the purse right out of the cart," said Watson.

Another tip, once you get home, Watson says don't leave any electronic boxes out on the curb for the trash, break those down, so passerby's don't see your new purchases.

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