"We always want to have safety first and foremost," said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. "When you're out there shopping, pay attention to your surroundings. You know, we can't emphasize that enough. Cellphones are a way of life. A lot of times we get busy and distracted and before you know it, you become a victim of a crime."
San Francisco police say they're increasing foot patrols throughout the city during this holiday season. Here are some tips to stay safe:
- Stay alert when using electronic devices. Limit your distractions.
- Always be alert to your surroundings and have your keys in your hand as you approach your vehicle.
- Park Smart: Help avoid vehicle break-ins, leave nothing visible in your car. Consider moving your vehicle to a different location each time you load packages in the trunk. Try to use parking lots where there are parking attendants.
- Keep your wallet in a hard-to-reach place and carry only the cash and credit cards that you will need to complete your shopping.
- If someone demands your purse, wallet, or packages, surrender them, make note of the suspect's description and direction they flee and call 911. Property can be replaced.
- "If you see something, say something." If you witness criminal activity or see something or someone suspicious, flag down a police officer, call 911 or contact security.
- Shop with a companion, especially after dark, whenever possible.
- Shield your PIN when using ATMs or other electronic devices in public.
According to Scott, these are common sense things, but he says, "Sometimes we get so busy in our lives that we don't always think about common sense things. So do those basic things and it lessens your chance of having a bad holiday."
Shoppers are advised to report criminal activity to police immediately. Additional personal safety tips are available from San Francisco Safety Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) 1-415-553-1984, or www.sfsafe.org.
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