D.B. "Libby" Libhart has more than 30 years of experience in the loss prevention industry. He has provided security and safety leadership in retail settings and quick-service restaurants, including for Yum! Brands. These tips are good to follow during the holiday season, and are also good to pass along to your employees, some of whom may be working late shifts after nightfall.
Holiday shopping safety tips
Shop with neighbors or friends.
Travel and conduct your business during daylight hours if possible.
Carry your purse or package close to your body or under your coat.
Minimize the number of credit cards and cash you carry.
Wear minimal jewelry.
Use traveler's checks, they are not only for vacations.
Restrict the use of an ATM; only use it in well lighted areas.
Quickly pocket your card and cash after using the machine.
If shopping with children, teach them to seek a security guard or store clerk if they get separated.
Shop with others whenever possible. (Safety in numbers).
Consider carrying a whistle and keep it handy when walking to and from your car.
Report suspicious persons, vehicles, and crimes to police.
Avoid leaving purse and valuables unattended in a shopping cart while you are shopping.
Confine charitable giving to established organizations and churches.
Parking lot safety
Lock your car when you get in or out of it.
Inspect your car in and along side of it before you get in.
Park in a well-lit parking lot or under a street light.
If you have car problems raise the hood; remain inside.
Be wary of strangers; ask them to call the police for you.
Place your packages in the trunk of your car, keep them out of sight.
When returning to your vehicle, scan the area, carry keys in your hand, unlock the door and get in quickly, and lock yourself inside.
Self protection tips
Develop an alert posture.
Do not walk along parking lots or streets without looking around for danger.
Stop frequently and look around.
Carry a sound making device and small flashlight.
When entering a deserted parking lot, do not be embarrassed to make an audible sound and shine the light. This will frequently discourage an attacker.
Try to give the appearance that you are alert. Even if it's cold, rainy or windy, keep your head up and look around. Attackers target those people they think are weak and unsuspecting.
Be careful in providing assistance to strangers who approach you, often they intend to steal from you or harm you.
Do not participate in any situation to make money that seems too good to be true. It will be.
If you carry a weapon, make sure you know how to use it.
If you carry a defensive device....practice with it.
THINK! Whatever you carry for a weapon may be taken away from you and used on you.
Traveling by Vehicle
Before your trip, leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a family member or trusted friend.
If you are traveling out of state, check on road conditions and weather advisories.
Use heavily travelled highways whenever possible, avoiding arterial and less traveled roads, especially at night or in unfamiliar areas.
Maintain at least a half tank of gas.
Fill up at heavily active gas stations; avoid stopping after dark.
Know how to access and use your jack and spare tire.
Devote your full attention to driving.
Never pick up hitchhikers.
Home and car protection
Keep your home and car locked at all times.
Never leave your keys in the ignition, even parked in the garage.
Use a locking device on your steering wheel.
Alarms can be very useful for both cars and homes.
Record with a camera the contents of your home or apartment, store the photos or video tape in another location. Record the serial numbers of your valuable property.
Conspicuously engrave your property with your driver's license number. It discourages theft.
If going out of town for a few days, put lights on a timer; stop mail and newspaper delivery; arrange for snow to be shoveled should it snow while you are gone.
Ask a neighbor to watch your house and park in your driveway occasionally while you are out of town.
Don't discuss your holiday plans to be out of town on social networking sites.
D.B. “Libby” Libhart has more than 30 years of experience in the loss prevention industry. He has provided security and safety leadership in retail settings such as department stores, drug stores and quick-service restaurants. Before launching his own company, LossBusters, Libby served as the Senior Director of U.S. Security and Safety for McDonald’s Corp. He entered the QSR industry with Taco Bell and subsequently YUM Brands.