Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why Me? Reasons Thieves Target You In Public

As my readers and YouTube followers already know, I was once robbed at a Walmart store. The reason I do not return to Walmart is not only the emotional trauma, (I was with my 2 week old baby), but also it was the lack of concern by the Walmart employees. The only concern the manager showed was when I began demanding to see the surveillance videos and to see a police officer. He refused so I began shouting and bringing attention to myself. Cell phones everywhere came out and were handed to me. Suddenly, the manager cared, going so far as to intercept the police officer as he appeared in the store. To this day, Walmart has refused to surrender the footage of the camera that was directly over my head the time of the robbery. I will never shop at Walmart again. I also will never be a victim of this crime again.

As with any traumatizing event, I reflected on it once I was calm. I wanted to know what if anything I did to bring about this incident. I'm not saying being robbed is the victim's fault. There are however, certain things people do that make it easier for thieves to target them. These are the mistakes we all make while out shopping.

1. Your Purse - Ever notice how a man is almost never robbed in a store? The reason isn't the fear of a man's size or combat ability. The reason is that a man typically carries a wallet. Stealing a wallet requires close contact with the victim. Stealing a purse does not. Women wear their purses like giant, leather, colorful bull's eyes on their arms. Once you go the store, you need a place to put that behemoth. It always goes into the basket, the one thing you turn your back on frequently. If you must wear a purse to go shopping, plain is better. Carry a black or nude colored bag. It's less obvious. Smaller is the key. Something you don't even notice on your arm and therefore have no need to set it down. Go old school and use a shoulder strap and drape it across your body. You can remove the strap once you're done shopping. Empty out your purse. You don't need your make-up bag, your full sized brush, your snacks and your receipts from the last 8 months. You don't need your checkbook or your baby photos. All you need are the cards you used every week and your ID. Being a mom means you may be using your purse as a diaper bag as well. That's understandable. But if at all possible, carry a man's wallet when you go shopping rather than a purse at all.

2. Your Children - It doesn't matter if they behave or not, they make you a target. You care about your children more than you care about your purse, So you put them up front and your purse in the back. Instant target. How about the person looking to take your child and not your purse. They reach for the purse, you reach for the thief, a kidnapper comes for your child. It happened to me. I let the money go of course. Think of how your child begins to scream and yell and throw a tantrum? Your jacket pockets are now exposed. If someone is bumping into you you're not likely to notice while in the midst of ranging a 2 year old. How about when you get into your car. You open the trunk and your child is sitting in the cart. Which do you remove first, your purse, your child, your items? Most women remove their bags first since they are staying with the cart and they assume their child is too difficult to snatch. All it takes is the perception of taking your child to distract you from your purse and your bags. The best order to unload your cart is as follows. Remove your purse and child at the same time and put them in the car. These are the things that matter most to you. Your purchase receipts should always be in your purse and not your bags. You should always choose a store with video surveillance when possible. And when all else fails, maintain renter's or homeowner's insurance. Car insurance covers damage or theft of the car, renter's and homeowner's insurance covers the items that were inside. Therefore, if your cart is stolen with everything in it, you can have it replaced.

3. Your Heels - Thieves like to go for the quick and easy grab. No one likes to rob a man because it is perceived that a man can run faster, hit harder and is more likely to fight than a woman. You super high, platform heels are screaming, "I can't run after you if you snatch my purse." Granted, you shouldn't chase someone that is stealing from you because they may have a weapon, but consider the fact that the average thief is counting on you standing there doing nothing. If you give chase, even for a moment, they are more likely to drop the bag they stole from you.

4. Your Cell Phone - We all hate automated phone systems. But there is a more in-depth reason to hate them. You enter all of your information into the system and a representative comes to the phone. What does the representative do next? They verify you all over again by asking you information that is essential to ID theft. There you are dealing with a simple tech support issue while you shop, multi-tasking. Then without thinking you are speaking the last four digits of your social security number, the answer to your security question, your name, date of birth, address, phone number, etc. If you think for one second that there isn't someone ear hustling this information, you may have already been targeted. Also, consider the fact that you already entered this information using the keypad on your phone. If a thief gets hold of your phone, all of that information is right there on the phone. Stay off of your phone whenever possible when shopping.

5. Your Keyless Entry - I see it all of the time, and I still can't figure out why people do it. They are at least 12 feet away from their car when they unlock it with the remote. If you have a push to start car, the thief just hit the jackpot. If you don't they are in the car now, and can wait for you to climb in before the do as they please. Keyless entry also unlocks all of the doors on your car, but all you need is to get into the trunk. Wait until you are standing next to your car to open the door, lock it once the trunk is open to prevent anyone from climbing in while you load the trunk.

So, leave the purse at home and carry a wallet. If your children are being too wily, leave them at home. Stay off of your phone. Wear sensible shoes and don't unlock your car until you are standing next to it.

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