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Be on your guard as festive season crime hots up at malls

We’ve officially entered the festive season shopping mania time. Unfortunately as the number of shoppers increases so does the number of criminal incidents at malls, in parking lots and smaller shopping centres.

Mike Francisco, security spokesperson for the Muldersdrift Communication Action Group (MCAG) urges Muldersdrift residents to be extra cautious when heading to shopping centres and malls. “Criminals are looking for vulnerable targets so make sure you don’t carry large amounts of cash or find yourself in an isolated place in a parking lot or mall where it’s easy to be cornered,” he says.

He adds that it’s important to keep your handbags and wallets closed securely and, if possible, out of sight. “While shopping be aware of people who seem to be crowding you unnecessarily and move away quickly or find the nearest security guard. The age old pick-pocket’s trick is to bump into you and make off with your wallet, cellphone or purse. So try and keep clear of anyone looking suspicious and keep a hand on your handbag or wallet if in doubt. Often criminals also tend to look for shoppers with small children. Moms can be easily distracted talking to children so they need to ensure they never leave their handbag in the trolley.”

He adds that your safety outside the mall is just as important as it is inside. “Be alert when walking to your car and have your keys ready long before you get there so you don’t become distracted. Also be aware that parking guards pushing your trolley can drift behind and offload items. To be safe rather walk behind the trolley where you have clear sight of your belongings.”

It’s also important to choose a safe place to park, especially if you are heading out at night. “Look out for parking places that are well lit or have security cameras nearby. Once you get into your car, start your engine and leave the parking lot immediately. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight inside your vehicle and rather put these items in the boot or hide them in the car.”

“Let’s keep our guard up so we can enjoy this festive season without any incidents,” concludes Francisco.