Black Friday Shopping Safety Tips from the Sarasota Police Department

SARASOTA, Fla. – Nov. 25, 2015 – 3 p.m.

As the busy holiday season approaches, the Sarasota Police Department will continue to keep residents and visitors safe as they shop this coming weekend.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, as many as 40% of Americans plan to go shopping on Black Friday this year. "If you’re out shopping, remember to lock your purchases in your trunk or secure them out of sight so your vehicle and gifts do not become a victim of an opportunistic thief," said Captain Patrick Robinson, Patrol Division Commander, Sarasota Police Department.

The Sarasota Police Department encourages shoppers to follow these safety tips:

• Always know your surroundings. A distracted shopper is a prime target for criminals

• Try to get most, if not all, of your shopping completed during the daylight hours

• Shop with other people if possible – Safety in numbers

• Do not purchase more than you can carry

• Don’t flash cash – Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as one-time or multi-use disposable credit cards or money orders

• Park in well-lit areas

• Don’t leave packages or valuables in your car. Lock them in the trunk or take them home

• Always lock your car doors

• When shopping with children: Have a plan in case you’re separated from each other

• Select a central meeting place

• Teach children they can ask mall or store security if they need help

• Have children memorize or keep your cell phone number with them

As always, the Sarasota Police Department is available 24/7 via 911 for emergencies and 941-316-1199 for non-emergencies. If you see something suspicious, say something. Don’t hesitate to call law enforcement right away.