Holiday shopping mania can make it easy to forget some common-sense rules to keep you and your belongings safe. Austin and Sunset Valley police recommend these tips before hitting the stores on Black Friday:
1. Remove valuables from view: After a successful shopping run, you should place and secure all holiday packages in your trunk, away from prying eyes. Thefts are crimes of opportunity, and thieves wait and watch those who park, so lock and secure all windows and doors.
2. Plan your route: Park in well-lighted spots, which thieves tend to avoid. It takes only three minutes for a vehicle to be burglarized or stolen, safety experts say.
3. Don’t leave vehicle idling: No matter how quick the trip into the store will take, always turn off the ignition, lock your doors, roll up the windows and take your keys.
4. Report any suspicious activity: Call 911 if you see something fishy and be sure to give a good description of the suspicious subject.
5. Follow all traffic rules: For instance, don’t block intersections or rights of way, and park only in marked spaces. If you create a parking space, you risk being towed.
6. Keep your eyes peeled: Watch for shoppers crossing streets and walking in parking lots. Look for cars backing in and out of parking spaces. Sunset Valley police want shoppers to remember that all incoming mall traffic has the right of way and should not stop — exiting traffic should always yield.