Sheriff provides shopping safety tips
St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert advises shoppers to be aware and be prepared this holiday season. He offers the following safety tips, according to a news release.
In the Parking Lot
—Pay close attention to where you park. Park in a well-lighted area. Have keys in hand and ready when you leave a shopping center. Scan the parking lot for any suspicious persons. Be wary of groups of people gathering in a parking lot, or people sitting in vehicles watching patrons. If it is dark or you feel uncomfortable, have a security officer escort you to your car. When you reach your vehicle, be sure to lock the doors before exiting the parking spot.
With Your Children
—Child predators can take advantage of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Supervise your children at all times including in fitting rooms and restrooms. Come up with an action plan that fits your family in the event you are separated. Establish a pre-designated meeting place with your children and/or make sure your children have a mobile phone number to contact. Encourage children to ask a security officer or police officer for help if needed.
Making Holiday Purchases
—Always keep your purse closed. Do not leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart or on the floor while you shop. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Guard PIN and credit card numbers. Whether shopping in store or online, keep a watchful eye on credit card, debit card and check purchases by viewing statements regularly. If you believe an account has been compromised contact the card company and/or bank immediately.
“Always trust your instincts, they’re usually not wrong,” Hebert said. In addition to nightly building checks, deputies have been directed to increase their presence at stores across the parish during daytime holiday shopping hours, the release stated.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office can be reached in Morgan City at 985-384-1622 and in Franklin at 337-828-1960.