Sheriff urges citizens to shop safely

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SARASOTA, Fla. - As holiday sales get into full swing, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight wants to remind citizens to shop smart and stay safe.

According to the sheriff's office, patrols are increased in high traffic retail areas this time of year, but shoppers are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind when heading out to hit the stores:

  • Avoid shopping alone, particularly at night.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lighted area and remove valuables from sight.
  • Know your surroundings, and keep an eye on the people around you.
  • Carry purses close to the body and don’t reveal large amounts of cash.
  • If using a shopping cart, do not leave purses unsecured, and keep them closed.
  • Approach your vehicle with keys already in hand.
  • Do not carry too many packages at one time.
  • Place all packages out of sight when you get to your vehicle.
  • Do not place purses on top of the vehicle in in the trunk when loading purchases.
  • Keep vehicle doors locked and windows shut.
  • Be suspicious of anyone approaching you to pass out leaflets or ask for donations.

If you see anything suspicious or if something just doesn’t feel right, leave the area immediately and contact store security or law enforcement.