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With the holiday shopping season upon us, the Johnson City Police Department is reminding everyone to be extra vigilant and would like to offer citizens the following safety tips when shopping.

•         Keep valuables locked away and hidden. A thief is much more likely to take something that is left in plain sight.

•         Try to shop during busier hours – the crowds may be larger but there will be more people nearby to help if you need it.

•         Don’t shop alone. Go with a friend or family member when possible.

•         Do not leave purses unattended in shopping carts.

•         Do not carry large amounts of cash.

•         Always lock your vehicle, in parking lots and at home.

•         Most importantly, be aware of personal safety. Be aware of what and who is around you. Park in well-lit spaces, and keep your keys in your hand when going in and out of stores – the less time you stand in a parking lot trying to unlock a car and place packages inside, the better. As you leave the store, stop and scan the area between you and your vehicle. If you see something suspicious, go back inside the store and contact store security or call 911.

Shoppers who make their purchases online must be equally cautious. The JCPD recommends, in addition to being on high alert for telephone and internet scams, people should place an emphasis on protecting online purchases from theft by using the following suggestions.

•           Have packages delivered to households where someone is home, a work address or require a signature at the time of delivery.

•           Have packages delivered to a local Amazon locker to be picked up within three days of delivery. This free service is available at the time of checkout on the popular website. 

•           Instead of having items delivered to your doorstep opt for in-store pick up.

•           Sign up for alerts when offered by the retailer or delivery service so you can stay informed as to which packages are being delivered and when.

•           Use internet-enabled security cameras and place them in highly visible locations.

Citizens who believe a package has been stolen should first verify that the package was delivered and then call the police.

“Being the victim of a crime can certainly dampen the holiday spirit,” said Johnson City Police Capt. Matt Howell. “These common sense measures can help everyone stay safe and enjoy the season.”