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Back-to-school shopping safety tips

Friday, August 17, 2012    

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As the new school year approaches, the police are advising members of the public purchasing back-toschool supplies and those doing business otherwise, especially in the major shopping districts of the country, to be mindful of those who wish to engage in criminal schemes and activities, such as pickpockets, handbag cutters and swindlers.

1. Be mindful of persons, especially women, who work together to distract, while a crony cuts the distracted person’s handbag or grab their wallet.

2. Avoid the three-card-man or any other such games or persons usually encountered on the streets.

3. Place goods in car trunk after purchase. This practice offers more safety.

4. Always lock your car, even if you are leaving it for a short period.

5. Be mindful of persons within or outside businessplaces who are offering lower prices elsewhere or persons who suggest you give them money to make purchases for you.

6. Try to avoid large handbags while shopping.

7. Carry your credit and debit cards in separate bags. If you use them often, place them in your pocket, not your handbag. If possible use debit or credit cards and avoid carrying cash.

8. Prepare your fare before boarding public passenger vehicles or make use of a bus pass.

9. If you are carrying a large amount of cash, separate the money.

10. Be cautious when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) — count and put away your money while inside the machine and do not hang around the ATM once the transaction is completed.

11. Pay keen attention to the persons around you when at the ATM.

12. Do not expose or display any large amounts of cash at any time. Try as much as possible to shop with friends.

13. Pay attention to the public passenger vehicle in which you travel.

14. Avoid shopping at night. If you must, be sure to travel with friends.

15. Shoppers are being asked to be aware of their surroundings at all times while shopping.

16. Be conservative in the amount and quality of jewellery worn while shopping. Remember to stay alert. This cannot be done while listening to music on devices such as MP3s or ipods, or while having extensive phone conversations. Police analysis of robberies across the country indicates the following: The items most sought after by offenders are:

• Computers (laptops)

• Cellphones (smart phones - BlackBerry, Samsung, HTC, etc)

• Jewellery

• Cash

• Motor vehicles (Cars - Honda, Corolla, Suzuki and Nissan).

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