Birmingham police this holiday season: "Don't be a victim"

The Birmingham Police Department is sending the following message: "Criminals are lurking and looking for an opportunity to make you a victim." In a news release Wednesday, authorities released the following tips for shoppers:

Here are tips for shoppers:

  • Shop with a friend(s) if possible. There is safety in numbers.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for criminals who may be looking for a target.
  • Remember where you parked. Make a note of aisle numbers and colors.
  • Park in well-lit areas if possible.
  • Have your keys in hand. Don't wait to search for your keys when you reach your car.
  • Don't leave your purse unattended in shopping carts.
  • Be mindful of designer purses. The purse alone can be a major score for a criminal.{}
  • Don't wait to lock your purses in your trunk when you get to shop the shopping center.
  • Don't carry large amounts of cash. Use debit or bank cards and keep them in a holder on your person.
  • Ask security officers to assist you.
  • Secure small children in a stroller or shopping cart. Thieves are waiting for you to become distracted.

Here are tips for shoppers arriving home:

  • Start checking around your residence the moment you turn onto your street
  • Make sure all doors and sidewalks have a good light source.
  • Invest in a timer for your interior lighting and motion lighting for outside.
  • Don't unload multiple packages alone. If it is late and you are alone, leave the packages for the next day.
  • Avoid using a cell phone when moving between a shopping center and your car or your car and your home. Use hands free equipment when possible and do let the person you are talking to know where you are. They can send help if you need it.