As long as there are criminals in the world, there is always a chance of encountering one, especially during the holiday season.

While you and I dress our kids warmly, grab the checkbook and credit cards, load into the car and head for the mall, criminals plot their schemes, plan their getaway route, and grab their ski masks in preparation for our arrival.

Sadly, shopping during the holiday season can present unique opportunities for criminals and the danger they pose. Employing a few prevention measures can help keep your holiday season joyous.

Recently, the LAPD identified key safety measures a shopper can take to tip the odds in their favor when they are out-an-about. There isn’t one suggestion I disagreed with. So, with the understanding that knowledge is power, I submit these suggestions to enhance your safety.

The holiday season is a time when busy people can become inattentive and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
  • Always carry your driver’s license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

In the end, you are the greatest guardian of your family and funds. Be safe, stay alert and Happy Holidays from your team at Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 2.