Sheriff Soyka corner: staying safe while holiday shopping

Submitted by Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka

by Sheriff Soyka, November 22, 2021

Hello Bonanza Valley Voice readers! As we head into the holiday season I am going to switch up the articles I usually write about the Sheriff's Office and offer some holiday shopping safety tips. This time of year we see an increase in thefts from homes and from shoppers that are out at stores. Please read these important tips so that you and your family remain safe and have a good shopping season.

Shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving is always a big deal and for some a tradition. Sales start early that day (typically while still dark) however if you can do a majority of your shopping during day light hours and shop with others you will be less of a target for a thief to grab your purses, bags or recently bought things. If you do shop during dark hours, always try to look for well lit areas of parking lots to park in. Try to limit the amount of cash or credit cards you bring with. Pay attention to your surroundings when walking and make sure to lock your valuables in a trunk or area not easily seen by someone looking in windows.

If shopping with family or friends, have a plan of where you will shop and what to do if you get separated. Perhaps take a photo of any children in your group with what they are wearing that day in case you get separated and need help looking for them. Report any suspicious activity or people to law enforcement or security right away.

Turning to on line shopping and deliveries, did you know that in 2019, one in four adults had a package stolen from their doorway? Some tips to make this harder for those delivery thieves is to have packages delivered to your work if you can. Leave specific instructions or use a P.O. box for the holiday season. Install security cameras that specifically look at the doorstep and even better if they can instantly notify you via your cell phone to any activity. Lastly, set up delivery notifications so you know when a delivery has been made and you or someone else can get it.

These are only a few tips to prevent you from being the victim of a criminal during this holiday season. For more tips and information look on-line for sites regarding crime prevention during the holiday season. Have a safe shopping season!


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