Everyone has heard horror stories about Black Friday, because incidents happen every year. Shoppers deal with violence from other shoppers, car damage, and increased burglaries at their homes while they’re gone. And now that in recent years stores have increased the length of their sales–some starting on Thanksgiving and spilling into as late as Saturday–the time for crime is even longer too. From trampling to theft, some may wonder if the deals are really worth it—and they can be if you’re smart about your safety.
If you do choose to brave the crowds of other value seekers, here are some do’s and don’t’s to help keep your home, your car, and most importantly yourself safe.
Keep your home safe
- DO keep some lights on that day as a deterrent. If you plan on camping outside a store early in the morning or being gone for several hours at all, make it look like someone is home—before you’re not.
- DO make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Even with lights on, it’s best to be on the safe side and still ensure that all entrances are secured, and you might be in such a hurry to rush out the door for the sales that you forget these basics!
- DON’T leave packages outside after your shopping trip, and don’t advertise expensive purchases. Break down large boxes as soon as possible to keep recent pricey purchases like televisions or appliances a secret from curious eyes.
Keep your car safe
- DO lock all doors and roll up all windows in the parking lot, even if you only leave your car for a few minutes. Make sure to double-check they’re locked, in case you’re distracted.
- DO hide purchases left in your car. The best way to do this is to leave shopping bags in your locked trunk or hidden under seats if they fit.
- DON’T park near the busy buildings during the day, to prevent damage done by shopping carts or other cars. Parking will also be easier to find, letting you get in line to wait a few minutes earlier.
Keep yourself safe
- DO wait to pull out your checkbook or wallet until needed. If grabbed prematurely, either your money or your information could be stolen.
- DO carry your purse close to your body at all times or carry your wallet inside a front pocket.
- DON’T buy more than you can carry at one time. If you know that you won’t be able to handle all of your purchases, ask a friend to accompany you shopping or a store employee to help you out to your car. (If you leave packages in a car, see the tip above about putting them out of sight.)
Some other tips to keep in mind whenever you’re out in a crowd include keeping your phone charged, setting meeting places if you’re shopping with a group (in case someone gets separated), and letting people know when you move from your known location.
By keeping your wits about you and paying attention to what you do on this hectic day of Black Friday, you can change one letter and make a sale safe.