Lee Erwin Reporting
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Each holiday season with Black Friday, thousands of local shoppers take to the stores at all hours determined to grab up holiday bargains. Along with all of those shoppers there are also people out there who are determined to steal your hard earned holiday gifts.
Officer Natalie Hall, Public Information Officer for the Clarksville Police Department, sat down recently with Clarksvillenow.com to share some crime prevention tips and ways to help protect your self from the criminal element over the holidays as well as throughout the year.
Hall said one of the most important things while holiday shopping or at any other time of the year is to be aware of your surroundings. “If you’re ever walking out after shopping you should always watch for other individuals, people you don’t know and might be suspicious of,” said Hall.
If you do have concerns while walking to your vehicle or in a parking lot, Hall recommended going back into the store and asking for security or in a worse case scenario calling 911 and asking for help from Clarksville Police. Another tip from police is to always try to shop with a group of friends or family for added protection.
Along with being aware of your surroundings while in a parking lot it’s a good idea to always park in a well lit and well traveled area and when you get to your vehicle look to be sure no one is hiding inside. You should also have your keys ready as you leave the store so you are not fumbling for them while in the parking lot.
You should be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try a number of ways of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings. Trust your instincts, if you feel something is wrong or suspicious, react quickly and take action to lower your risk of becoming a victim.
It goes without saying that you should always lock your vehicle when you are away from it but you should also keep valuables out of sight. “Keep purses, wallets and cell phones in the car out of view. Hide them somewhere. The best place is in a locked trunk and it’s the same thing for items you have purchased,” Hall said.
Carry only the credit cards you need and try not to carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive jewelry or clothing. Hall also emphasized its very important not to resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings. Don’t chase a robber because they may have a weapon. Hall says the best thing is to call 911 and let police handle the situation.
Finally, the holidays mean lots of parties and that can mean that some people may indulge just a little too much when it comes to drinking alcohol. “We strongly suggest that you have a designated driver if you’re going to a party and you’re going to consume alcoholic beverages,” said Hall.
Hall added that between now and New Year’s the Clarksville Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol are going to have saturation patrols on the weekends looking for impaired drivers.