St. Pete police hand out Black Friday safety tips

- On Black Friday, the malls will be packed. And, officers will be on the lookout for thieves scoping out easy targets in the stores and in the parking lots.

St. Petersburg Police walked around Tyrone Square Mall on Tuesday, warning customers to be smart and safe during their holiday shopping.

"This time of year, people are always in a rush and they're all "happy holidays," said Chief Anthony Holloway. "We want to remind people just to slow down and pay attention."

Officer handed out fliers with a list of tips to help keep them safe at the stores and at home. At the stores, officers urge everyone to:

-Lock car doors. Close windows. Take car keys with you.

-Put all of your packages in the trunk of your car. Do not place packages on the seat or on the floor of your car where prying eyes can see them.

-Be aware of your surroundings. Park in a well-lighted area as close as possible to the entrance of your destination.

-Have your keys in-hand and ready to open your car door before you exit the store or place of business.

-Keep your purse closed and carry it securely under your arm. Never place your purse on a counter or leave it in your shopping cart.

-Don't carry large amounts of cash. Never display the case you carry. Use ATMs during the daytime.

"Definitely bring purses in with you," said shopper Xavier Myrick. "Do not leave them out in your cars because I've known a few people who had their window out when they get back to their vehicles, especially, around the holidays."

At home, St. Pete Police offer this advice:

-Do not place gifts or other valuables where they can be seen by someone looking in from outside your home.

-Keep your doors and deadbolts locked at all times - even when someone is home.

-Don't advertise your new computer, stereo or TV by leaving the empty boxes at the curb.

When ordering packages, police say:

-Consider sending the package to your workplace or a neighbor who is home during the day to accept the delivery.

-Require a signature upon delivery to ensure someone receives it.

-Have your Amazon order go to an Amazon Locker located at convenience stores throughout the Bay Area.

-Request the delivery company to hold your package at the closest pick-up facility. The company will contact you when it arrives.

-Leave special instructions for drivers to leave your package in a specific location such as the back door.

-Consider installing doorbell and surveillance cameras around your porch. The motion sensors will notice as someone approaches your porch, start recording and alert you of the approach.

Police aren't trying to put a damper on the shopping holiday.

"Be aware, not afraid," said Chief Holloway, "Meaning, be aware of your surroundings but don't be afraid to come out and shop."

But, rest assured, their officers will be out in force making sure people can shop with peace of mind.

"We are going to have extra patrols here, we are going to have a mounted unit here, we are going to have message boards here to remind people to lock their cars, take their keys," Holloway said. "We are going to have detectives working in plain clothes out here because again. we want to make sure people are safe throughout the holidays."

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