Commonwealth Journal

November 27, 2013

SPD ready for Black Friday rush

Additional patrols scheduled in high-traffic areas

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Officers with the Somerset Police Department will be out in full force this upcoming Black Friday — and today, thanks to earlier retail store openings — and they have a few tips to help keep everyone’s shopping adventure safe. 
Beginning tongiht, SPD offic-ers will be conducting additional patrols in the major shopping areas within the Somerset City Limits.
“We are fortunate to have a number of resources that help us provide a better service to the citizens who live, work, and shop in our community,” said SPD Chief of Police Doug Nelson.
The police department will have Bike Unit officers and officers riding Segways patrol-ling parking lots to deter and detect criminal activity through random, targeted patrols. Officers will also be on the lookout for people leaving items, like purses and cell phones, in plain view in their vehicles. Leaving items in your vehicle is one of the top contributors to attracting thieves.  
Somerset draws people each shopping season from surrounding counties to the department stores and the Somerset Mall. 
“We encourage you to remove any valuables from your vehicle before going into stores,” stated SPD Capt. Shannon Smith in a press release. “Parking spaces can be scarce at times, but parking in well-lit areas helps deter crime. As with any time of year, we encourage you to report suspicious activity.”
SPD is offering the following tip where shoppers can help minimize shoppers’ chances of becoming a victim:
• Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you.
• Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
• Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.
• Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards.
• Wait until asked before taking out your credit card, cash, or checkbook. This reduces the risk of losing your cash or credit card to thieves.
• Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front pants pocket.
• Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
• Do not leave packages visible in your car. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
• Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package.
• If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask store personnel if they need help.