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#BlackFriday: Brighton Beach police urge shoppers to be vigilant

Shoppers are encouraged to be alert in busy malls on Black Friday.

AS scores of shoppers get ready to hit the malls in search of some great deals this #BlackFriday, Brighton Beach police are urging the public to be aware of those with criminal intentions that will be on the prowl.

Also read: #BlackFriday: Beware of online scams

Captain Louise Le Roux, Brighton Beach police spokesperson, said, apart from crimes such as theft by snatching, pick-pocketing, and robberies, carjackings, and even kidnappings may occur.

“We are urging the public to pre-plan for the day and be on high alert,” she said. 

Here are some safety tips that may limit you from falling prey to those with criminal intentions: 

  • Know the evacuation points of the mall you will be visiting in case of an emergency.
  • If possible, do not let children accompany you to the shops. Children may be abducted during frantic buying and can go missing easily through the large crowds, when browsing through the shopping aisle or when using the public toilet facilities.
  •  If a child must accompany you, take note of their clothing. Toddlers should wear a child harness attached to a leach. Toddlers should sit in the trolly seat compartment facing the parent.  The same applies to children in baby carrier seats. The seat must be affixed to the shopping trolley and the baby must be strapped inside the baby carrier facing the parent.
  • Limit the amount of cash on hand. Ensure that you decrease your daily limit upon concluding your Black Friday shopping spree. This includes online shopping. If kidnapped, your abductors will demand from you to make withdrawals until all your funds are depleted. 
  • Do not carry along with your retail store cards if you know you will not be making purchases.  Should your handbag or wallet be stolen, your cards may be used by your perpetrators to make fraudulent purchases as some stores do not require an identity document or pin code to make purchases and generally signatures are not checked for ownership.
  • When purchasing items from retail stores that have sold you jewellery or electronic devices, conceal the designed carry bag in a general carry bag.  By “advertising” your purchase, you become vulnerable to being robbed.  Be wary of being followed after making these purchases.
  • When shopping,  women must ensure that their handbags are clutched under their arm, with the zip facing oncoming traffic. Men should place their wallet in their front pockets, facing oncoming traffic and not in their back pocket.
  • If approached by any person claiming to be in distress for assistance (even if it is a female), make your way to the closest security officer and encourage the person to follow you.
  • Do not shop while texting or talking on your phone.  Find a safe spot, make the call or text the message.
  • When operating an ATM, use your body as a shield to conceal your pin. If your pin is known, your card can be snatched, robbed or pick pocketed from you and your money will be withdrawn.
  • After making large purchases, you may be followed with the purpose of hijacking you. When you enter your vehicle, lock the doors, wind up windows, and buckle up. Locking up and winding up will prevent a hijacker from having an opportunity to force a gun through your window or opening your door and pointing it to your head. Also, if you are buckled up, you can reverse safely and drive into something that can cause a commotion and attract attention to your situation.
  • Do not walk on route to your vehicle whilst talking or texting on your mobile device. This also applies to when driving. Remove the vehicle key from your handbag or pocket pans before walking to your vehicle.  Fidgeting for your keys creates an opportunity to minimise your vigilance whilst on route to your vehicle. If you suspect that you are being followed, drive to the first public space on route or to your nearest police station.

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