Safety tips for holiday shopping - WFLA News Channel 8

Safety tips for holiday shopping

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - This holiday shopping season, police in Tampa are executing a security plan that focuses on the high-visibility of officers and crime-fighting tools like mobile cameras to prevent crime.

"We're trying to keep the crime down," said Officer Usilia Emilione. "Less cars broken into, less people victimized and less thefts inside the mall as well."

Officers in Tampa patrol the properties of Westshore Plaza and International Plaza, as well as shopping centers along Dale Mabry Highway. Some are uniformed, others are plainclothes and squads take roll call in the parking lots, she said.

But aside from the law enforcement show of force, there are things shoppers can do avoid becoming a target for criminals – starting with where they park.

Emilione said shoppers should look for well-lit areas, parking as close as possible to the stores and close to other cars as well. When possible, choose open parking over a parking garage, she said. In garages, park closer to stairwells or elevators.

On your way to and from your car, stay off your phone so you don't get distracted, but keep it handy so you can call 911 if you see anything suspicious.

"One of the biggest things is you want to be aware of people who may be following you, people who are getting closer to you," Emilione said. "You always want to see things before they actually happen."

Another parking lot tip: Lock your car doors and keep valuables (and new packages) out of sight.

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