The Holidays are upon us once again and the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department is making every effort to provide the safest atmosphere possible for holiday shoppers. We will be increasing patrols of business areas through the use of marked and unmarked vehicles. Foot patrols and bicycle patrols will also begin in all shopping areas through the Holidays. Added personnel from the Patrol Division, Services Division, and Special Operations will supplement daily patrol activities in order to provide the citizens of Texarkana with a safe shopping environment.
Citizens can assist our efforts by following these shopping tips...
• Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
• Shop with a friend, there is safety in numbers.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, if possible pay for purchases with a check, credit or debit card.
• If possible, carry only your driver’s license, personal checks, or necessary credit or debit cards.
• Do not carry a wallet in a back pocket. It should be placed in a front pocket of your pants for safety.
• Be alert that crooks look for the “high dollar” shopping bags with your purchases. When possible, slip bags/purchases in a plain nondescript bag.
• Educate your children about what to do if they are lost as well as “Stranger Danger”.
• Don’t overburden yourself with too many packages. Use the store’s package pick-up, or ask for assistance with loading your items.
• Have your car keys ready in hand before leaving the store.
• If you do return to your vehicle to unload purchases, place them in the trunk of the vehicle.
• Try not to shop until the store closes. Remember, fewer people are present at this time.
Holiday Crime Prevention Tips In Parking Lots:
• Shop early and leave early to avoid evening darkness.
• Park in a high visibility area and check for lighting in case you leave during hours of darkness.
• Prior to arriving at the shopping center, lock all your valuables in the trunk of your vehicle.
• Leave the store with others, not alone.
• Ask security to escort you to your vehicle if you feel uncomfortable.
• Walk briskly, confidently, and directly through the parking lot. Be cautious of people handing out fliers or asking questions in the parking area.
• Watch for people who may be following you. This can occur inside as well as outside. If you suspect someone following you, report it to police or security immediately.
Holiday Crime Prevention Tips At Home:
• Keep the outside of your home well lit with doors locked and window curtains closed.
• Don’t display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from windows or doors.
• After the holidays, don’t advertise gifts received by the boxes left for the garbage collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, non-clear garbage bag.
• Be wary of strangers soliciting for charitable donations. They may attempt to take advantage of people's generosity during the holidays. Ask for identification, how donated funds are used, if contributions are tax deductible, etc. If you aren't satisfied with the answers don't give.
Unfortunately there is an increase in Robberies and Purse Snatchings across the Nation during the holiday season. Together we can reduce these types of crimes. If you have any additional questions regarding Holiday safety feel free to contact the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department at (903)798-3130.
Thank you and you can visit the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department online at http://www.txkusa.org/arkpolice.
Officer Kristi Mitchell
Public Information Officer