Police prepare for holidays; so should you
The St. Petersburg Police Department has prepared for the holiday shopping season by assigning officers to monitor major retail centers in the city for crime.
The department's Volunteer Road Patrol will provide patrols in many parking lots and will cite vehicles parked in spaces for the handicapped without a permit.
With the current economic woes, many will be looking for bargains, but we know that criminals will be shopping for some good deals, too.
So here are some timeless tips to help everyone enjoy a safe and crime-free holiday season.
• Avoid shopping alone; there is safety in numbers.
• Stay aware of your surroundings, especially in retail parking areas where there is a lot of traffic.
• Lock your car and never leave purses or gifts in plain view. A random check of cars in retail parking lots last year found many with packages and valuables in view.
• Keep your car keys in your hand when you leave a store. Scan the parking lot for suspicious people or cars as you walk alertly and confidently to your vehicle. If your key fob has a panic alarm, use it if you are approached by a suspicious person.
• Be careful while using an ATM. Stand directly in front of it to keep anyone from seeing your PIN.
Criminals consider a distracted person an easy victim, and our hectic schedules can make us more vulnerable to crime this time of year. Remember to stay alert, follow these simple precautions and enjoy the holiday season.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman