And, especially during the holidays, it really doesn't hurt to have a little family conference about safety.
All you have to do is go by any big mall just about dark and have a look at the shoppers as they trudge their way back to their cars. Most of them have their heads down, digging in purses for car keys, as they wander out through the parking lot. They are so tired that they are totally oblivious to anything that is going on around them. It is a scenario that is made to order for crooks.
This time of year, it is always a good idea to take someone with you when you set out to do your holiday shopping. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Get your keys out before you leave the building and use your eyes to scan the parking lot for your car and the area around it.
If a person is truly practicing awareness, problems will become obvious while one is still quite a ways from the vehicle. You should be looking for people hanging around your car who seem to have no real purpose. Be alert for people who seem out of place. Be alert for anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. And, for goodness sakes, if you feel uncomfortable, don't just ignore it and go on. Take the time to figure out what the problem is and what you are going to do about it.
Even if a person is carrying a defensive handgun, the smart move is to just go back into the store and let mall security, or the police, handle the situation. Don't be afraid to call for help and don't be put off by the bored looks you get from the security staff. That's their job and they need to do it.
One of the best accessories to carry during an all-day shopping binge is a tactical light. Use it to light the way to your car. Use it to check the area around your car before you get too close. Shine it in the face of anyone who approaches you without a good reason.
Dark shopping-mall parking lots and tired shoppers are a productive haven for crooks. Be alert. Be aware. And, above all, don't be a victim.