safety tips while holiday shopping

4 Holiday Shopping Safety Tips for a Safe and Joyous Season

The joy of holiday shopping comes from a sense of wellbeing. That means you must take appropriate steps to promote a safe environment at your property.

Keeping shoppers safe at your mall, parking lot or garage, and other parts of the property is always a top priority for security services companies, like the PPS team. However, there are several ways you can take action to reduce risk and prevent break-ins and thefts.

Read these 4 holiday shopping safety tips to create a welcoming environment throughout the season and help people feel more secure.

Holiday Shopping Safety: Optimize Your Parking Area

What does optimizing a parking area mean exactly? It involves keeping safety and smooth traffic flow in mind when you establish security patrol services, plans, and procedures.

About 1.85 million car break-ins occur every year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Theft by auto,” or car break-ins increase over the holidays. Thieves target the cars of holiday shoppers not only because the holidays are busy, but also because their chances of scoring electronics, jewelry, and other high-value items are higher.

Cut down on problems in the parking lot with the following property tips:

  • Make sure lighting coverage is good.
  • Consider blocking off blind parking areas, corners, and less-used or poorly-lit corners in garages or external lots.
  • Keep good monitoring and coverage in lots and garages.
  • Set up traffic direction and designated parking.
  • Maintain security patrols during closed hours (late night and early a.m.).
  • Use guarded and secure valet parking.

Provide shoppers with simple, actionable parking lot safety tips like:

  • Be sure to lock your car.
  • Roll up all windows.
  • Take valuables out of sight.
  • Don’t leave chargers or other signs of electronics in sight.
  • Don’t leave mail or wallets in open sight.

Naturally, you can’t hire a security guard to walk with every shopper or stand next to every vehicle. Be proactive by helping your staff, tenants, and shoppers understand how to improve their own safety.

Distribute easy-to-understand safety tips throughout the holidays. You can print holiday shopping safety tips on posters, use digital displays to offer a “Tip of the Hour,” and use social media to spread the word.

Holiday Shopping Safety: Pay Attention to High-Risk Areas

Along with bathrooms, ATMs are one of the highest-risk areas in any commercial property or mall. Make sure your security patrols and cameras have good coverage of any ATM. If an ATM is in an isolated area like a corridor or back entrance, consider moving it to a well-lit, high-traffic area.

Holiday Shopping Safety: E-Theft and Mobile Device Security

Many petty theft criminals are just looking to steal mobile devices to sell them, but a select few are looking for bigger scores. These criminals want to steal personal data and identities from mobile devices.

MarketingLand reported that in 2015, 90% of shoppers use their mobile phones to look for deals while shopping. This number will probably be even higher this holiday season. According to Consumer Reports, smartphone thefts started declining in 2015, but more than 2.1 million devices were stolen and another 3.1 million were lost. This adds up to a lot of lost devices and security problems.

You can’t force shoppers and tenants to keep their mobile devices safe. But you can establish a central collection for lost devices and establish good security procedures to make sure the wrong person doesn’t swipe someone else’s phone.

Holiday Shopping Safety: Have a Strong Security Action Plan

The holidays aren’t just the busiest shopping days of the year. They are also the busiest time for theft or incidents in many cities.

Be sure to staff door, store, and parking security well and place qualified staff in key areas for building security. Make sure all of your equipment is in good working order, including flashlights and radios. Try to create a written workflow and safety plan at least one week before the holiday season begins.

Deploy additional security officers you think are necessary. Practice emergency response for potential safety problems. Most importantly, make sure everyone on your staff is trained to be able to identify and respond to potential security problems.

Don’t just focus on your security personnel. If you lack the time, get help from experienced staff to train cleaning, information, and store employees on basic safety risks and appropriate responses.

Conduct a refresher on safety tips throughout the holiday shopping season, offering simple, clear instructions on what to do in case of in-store disputes, attempted theft, or other problem behavior.

Holiday shoppers often experience security risks, whether they are at a mall or strolling around downtown. It’s up to you to improve their sense of wellbeing. Take these steps to make the holiday shopping season a welcoming experience at your property.

Make your holiday season safe and joyous with the PPS team. Contact us to get started.