Don't be a victim on Black Friday: How to stay safe and keep your purchases out of criminals' hands

DENVER – If you’re headed out to shop this Thanksgiving or Black Friday, be aware that thieves are out at the same time each year looking to do some shopping of their own.

The shopping holiday brings good deals, but also brings out burglars looking to get a five-finger discount on the discounted stuff you just bought. But there are some ways to be sure you aren’t a victim this year.

Shoppers should be sure they always keep their purses or wallets close to them to deter any purse-snatchers. Police advise shoppers to monitor their surroundings and be on the lookout for anyone suspiciously loitering in parking lots or stores.

Once you’ve made your purchase, put it out of sight! Many burglars will hit cars where recently-bought items are sitting out in the open, making them an easy target.

If you plan on running around town to shop all day, another thought is to take your purchases home in between store trips just to be sure burglars don’t have the chance to take anything.

If you buy something, try your best to hide it in a locked trunk or under the seats, if possible.

Safe shopping is also key on Black Friday. People should dress warmly and not let any shopping rage get the best of them. There will likely be store-opening rushes at some stores. Police advise people to stay calm, not to run, and to help out anyone who falls to avoid them being crushed.

For business owners, police advise to have a plan in place taking into account various crowd sizes and to have the store set up that encourages a steady flow through your store.

Be sure any palates aren’t stacked too high; in the event of a rush, some palates and end-caps have historically toppled and sometimes injured shoppers.

And finally, store owners and employees should be vigilant in looking out for shoplifters or thieves. Most police departments encourage stores to be in touch if there are any concerns about criminal activity.

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