How to Stay Safe While Shopping

Be it a grocery store, department store, or strip mall, there are a few things you should keep in mind before, during, and after you shop to keep you safe. Planning, parking, and presence of mind are the 3 P's to protecting yourself while shopping, especially if shopping alone.


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    Wear appropriate clothing. If your objective is shopping, wear comfortable clothing and footwear.
    • If you will be trying on clothing, make sure the clothes are easy to slip on and off. The same goes with the shoes.
    • If you are carrying a purse, make sure you have easy access to your car keys, phone, and/or panic alarm.
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    Park under or near a lamp post near to the front of the store.
    • If you know for sure that you will leave before sunset, you can skip the lamp post but avoid parking in an alley or a hidden spot.
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    Walk with confidence.
    • Walk erect and with purpose. Glancing side to side so that people know you are aware of your surroundings. Keep your keys in your hand with at least one key poking between your knuckles.
    • You should not be walking like you are looking for a fight, but as if you are unconsciously aware that bad stuff can happen and are prepared.
    • Note your parking location in reference to the entrance so you can easily find your car upon your return.
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    Put away your keys and other items upon entering the store.
    • Hat, sunglasses, keys, and other paraphernalia that will get in the way of your shopping should be put away before you get fully into the store so you are not mistaken for a shoplifter.
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    Be aware of your surroundings when in store. By being vigilant, you will not be marked as an easy target.
    • Do not put your bags or purse down to look at something. If you do have to put a bag down for a moment, stand over it or ask a sales clerk to store it behind the counter. If in a grocery store, do not leave your items unattended in the cart.
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    Avoid buying more than you can carry on one arm (or one cart). You want at least one arm noticeably free.
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    Give courtesy space to everyone. This discourages pickpockets and you won't be mistaken for one either.
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    Pull out your keys upon leaving the store. Put on your glasses and any other items you need to drive and place your keys in your hand with the keys poking between each knuckle.
    • If you would rather walk with a security device in hand or nearby, do so.
    • If it is night, make the leaving preparations just inside the store doors, where there is light, people, and cameras.
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    Walk to your car with alert purpose.
    • Return to your car as you walked into the store, scanning the area and noting possible dangers.
    • Be wary of anything suspicious like a van parked next to your vehicle with someone inside.
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    Load the car and lock your doors. Once your car is loaded, get in and lock your doors.
    • Be sure to lock your doors before putting on your seat belt or making any other adjustments in the car. This will prevent anyone from opening your car door while you are distracted in the parked car.
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    Proceed with the drive home or to your next destination.


  • Always be alert of your surroundings. This will reduce activity from pickpockets.
  • Be sure to have someone to contact if a situation turns bad.
  • Take note of where the security office is and how to get there.


  • Stores, supermarkets and strip malls are favourite places for pickpockets.

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Categories: Merge | Outdoor Safety | Shopping