Be alert when shopping: Cop Corner with Kim Cole

January 31, 2012

Sgt. Kim Cole



Shop­ping is both fun and nec­es­sary, but there are good rea­sons to keep a watch­ful eye; there are  many dis­trac­tions and the bad guys love distractions:


  • Always be aware of your sur­round­ings: observe and make men­tal notes on things that look out of place
  • Have you seen the same per­son in sev­eral places as you move from one shop­ping spot to another?  You may be a tar­get of being “cased.”
  • Park in a sin­gle space, between cars where you can see through their win­dows.  You may be able to iden­tify a pos­si­ble prob­lem.  Never park next to a van with tinted glass and a slid­ing door fac­ing your car.  If you parked in the open and find a van parked next to your car be extra cautious.
  • Park in lots where you can see the secu­rity cam­eras on the roof of the store.
  • Do not leave your purse unat­tended in the upper rack of the shop­ping cart; instead, use the recy­clable shop­ping bags as a place to hide your purse.
  • When pos­si­ble, keep your cell phone in your pocket andnot your purse. It increases your oppor­tu­nity to call 911, espe­cially if you get sep­a­rated from your purse.
  • Wor­ried about a false alarm to 911? Remem­ber they are there 24/7/365 with the tal­ent and means to address your safety con­cerns.  If you are mildly con­cerned, just get out your phone and act like you are mak­ing a call; thebad guys will take you off their “easy mark” list!
  • Every six months copy the front and back of all of the cards in your purse; keep the record in a sep­a­rate, secure place (such as a fire­proof lock­box) so you will know what was lost; also, include the cus­tomer ser­vice num­bers to “kill” your credit cards.
  • If you are in a crowd and you have a back­pack, put it on back­wards so it is in front of you and secure.
  • Shop with friends and your fam­ily, espe­cially dur­ing the hol­i­day seasons.
  • When there is an obvi­ous prob­lem with your vehi­cle that can be seen as you approach, such as a flat tire, get your phone out and start call­ing for help from friends or a road ser­vice before you reach the car.
  • Light­ing always helps; park under or close to park­ing lot lights or the store’s roof lights.
  • On occa­sion, stop unex­pect­edly in your tracks and look around; if you are being fol­lowed, the bad guys expect you to keep mov­ing con­sis­tently toward your expected goal, and will be thrown off.
  • Get in your car and lock the doors before you do any­thing else.
  • When a store employee offers to escort you to your car, enjoy the luxury!

Cop Corner is written by Sgt. Kim Cole with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

Sponsored by the Committee to Elect Kim Cole Mason County Sheriff:

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