Savannah-Chatham police have stepped up patrols near retail stores to protect shoppers and reduce holiday crime. SCMPD’s “Jingle Bell Patrol” is an effort to protect shoppers where they are most vulnerable.
The Savannah Morning News reports, “[a]dditional officers are placed on busy streets, in commercial parking lots and near high traffic retail zones in search of auto break-ins, robberies or shoplifting.”
While shopping center safety is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner, holiday shoppers can take steps to protect their families and reduce risk. The Savannah Police Department urges shoppers to practice holiday safety precautions:
- Limit the amount of cash you carry. Try to use debit or credit cards.
- Keep your cell phone in a pocket rather than your purse.
- Shop with someone else. The more the better.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Always store valuables out of sight.
- Lock your car and make sure windows are up.
- Take all keys.
- If you have to make a run to the car, hide the purchases in the trunk or another secure area and consider re-parking.
- Consider making your most expensive purchases last so you can head straight home with them.
- Have your keys ready when you approach your car. (Your keys can be used as a defensive weapon if necessary.)
- Look around the car to assure that no one is lurking around or in the car before entering.
- Consolidate smaller purchases into one or two large shopping bags.
- Take a photo of your child before shopping. If they become lost, you will have a current photo of them in the clothes they are wearing that can aid in more quickly finding them.
- Point out security guards or store offices so your children know where to go if they do become separated.
Read the complete list of SPD holiday safety tips.
Victims of Georgia Store and Parking Lot Violence: Know Your Rights
Mall and shopping center patrons have a right to feel safe and secure while on the premises of the establishment they are visiting. By Georgia law, property owners are required to protect all patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should a mall or retail center owner have knowledge of prior violence on or near property, they have a responsibility to implement additional security precautions to protect patrons and deter such crime. Should a shopping center or retail parking lot owner fail in this critical responsibility, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries, sexual assaults, or wrongful deaths which occur as a consequence.
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