Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is encouraging those that are participating in Black Friday shopping this year to be cautious while enjoying the deals that kick off the holiday shopping marathons.
Lott said that since many will be out shopping, both in the morning and evening, on Black Friday, he offers these tips to make sure your shopping adventure is as safe as possible:
• Be aware of your surroundings and scan the area from time to time.
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• Avoid concetrating so hard on shopping that you fail to keep track of your surroundings including others near your personal property.
• Be alert in crowded areas.
• Pickpockets favorite places are revolving doors, jammed aisles, elevators and at public transportation bus stops; make sure your wallet or pocketbook is on you at all times.
• Grip your carried items firmly and avoid leaving them unattended.
• Carry the day’s most expensive purchases closest to your body and don’t carry so much that you lose the ability to react quickly.
• Do not leave purchased items visible in the car. Instead, put them in the trunk.
• Carry minimal cash and valuables including jewelry.
• Credit cards offer convenience and security. However, keep track of all cards and keep receipts to compare to your monthly statement.
• Shop with friends and family if possible. Leave your children with a baby-sitter while you are shopping. If you take your children with you, keep a close eye on them while shopping.
• While shopping in the evening hours may be less crowded, take care to park in areas with adequate lighting and shop with someone you know rather than alone.
Lott also said that any businesses preparing for Black Friday can contact the Community Action Team to have them assess your business for free and provide security information. To schedule an appointment call (803) 576-3191.