Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are always a great time of year for family, friends, and shopping.  Unsurprisingly though, according to the FBI, the holidays are also one of the best times of year for robberies and theft.  With my experience in teaching self-defense and working with survivors of violent crimes, here are a few of the unconventional tips that I suggest for staying safe around the holiday season.  

--Andre Herbert, co-owner FTF® Charlotte

1. Leave the younger kids at home

We want our kids to have a great time and make memories that will last them a lifetime, but from a practical standpoint, if you are going gift shopping, you should leave the little ones at home.  Let's face it, if we are shopping with young children, it will prolong the shopping experience. That means spending more time fighting highly caffeinated short-tempered crowds.  Leaving the kids at home will allow you to focus on getting in and out safely, without being distracted by little Johnny throwing a temper tantrum because you didn't get him the new Star Trek Lego set.   Get with a friend or neighbor and take turns watching each other's kids as you head out to grab your spoils.  

2. Take a friend

If the kids stay home, now you get a little more adult time.  By shopping with a friend, you can be more leisurely, perhaps stopping at Charlotte's Sycamore brewery in between hitting South Park and The Arboretum.   Or you could be ruthlessly efficient, knocking out stop after stop without interruption.  Having a friend will allow you to share laughs and a little holiday joy, while simultaneously acting as a deterrent from being singled out for robbery.  There is strength in numbers.  

3. Fill up before you head out

This one is short and easy.  Fill the gas tank before you head out.  Having a full gas tank means you don't have to worry about running out of gas when stuck in the inevitable traffic jam when picking up your inbound relatives at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.  More importantly, criminals know that gas stations are easy spots to target families with a car full of gifts.  Avoid the mayhem and fill up early, before you head out.

4. Be careful at transition points

Robberies and theft commonly happen at transition points. These are the points where we move from one fixed location like our car, to another, like the restaurant you are about to grab lunch at with your friends.  Criminals pay particular attention to the people leaving stores. At transition points, pocket your phone and keep your head up to know your surroundings.  Make eye contact with people around you, but don't get into a staring contest with them.  

5. It's just stuff

Even the most expensive things are only things.  Insurable and replaceable.  Yes, you may have gotten a perfect deal on that new tablet, but it isn't worth your life.  If you a perp selects you as a target, handing over your valuables may be the smartest decision.

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