Staying safe while holiday shopping

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Though it’s always important to protect yourself when you are out in public, it’s especially important at this time of year.

Lots of people are doing their holiday shopping this weekend. All too often people are on their phones and they’re not focused on their surroundings. That can make you a target to crooks.

Beth Dighello was starting her holiday shopping in Hamden on Saturday evening. She, like many shoppers, was thinking about safety as well as what gifts to buy. Shoppers want to protect their stuff from thieves who may target them.

“I try to keep my purse zippered just to avoid someone reaching in,” said Dighello. “I always have it on my shoulder. I try not to put it down.”

“I just keep my wallet in my front pocket and I don’t carry a lot of cash when [I’m] out,” said Stephen Stern who was also shopping in Hamden.

When you’re walking to or from your car, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Look inside your car before you get in. Be careful if you’re going to be leaving gifts in your car while you shop.

“I hide them. Out of sight out of mind is what I like to say,” said Ryan Kane of Bethany. “If they can’t see labels or anything like that they don’t go after it.”

Shoppers were also thinking about keeping themselves safe. When you’re parking choose a spot that’s well lit. Make sure you’re not distracted when you walk to your car.

“What I always do is make sure I have my key out and ready instead of walking to my car and fumbling through my purse,” said Dighello.

Always lock your car, that way you will reduce your chances of being the victim of a crime this holiday season.

“I feel very safe,” said Dighello. “I think just being aware makes you feel more safe.”

Police in many communities – including Hamden – have already been investigating complaints from people who have had their gifts stolen right out of their cars.