Safe Shopping and Sipping Coffee, a seminar held at Trinity Baptist Church, was the backdrop Tuesday as guest speaker, Sgt. Dan Shumaker, talked about personal safety and shopping tips for the holidays.

Safe Shopping and Sipping Coffee, a seminar held at Trinity Baptist Church, was the backdrop Tuesday as guest speaker, Sgt. Dan Shumaker, talked about personal safety and shopping tips for the holidays.

He said residents can be more fearful than they really need to be because they often pay too much attention to watching crime shows and media reports.

“Constantly focusing on crime and hearing about it every day can make it seem worse than what the reality actually is,” he said.

“Most of the time crimes are committed by criminals to other criminals,” Shumaker said.

Though crime does happen, being aware is the greatest defense everyone has, Shumaker said.

Shumaker explained what he teaches is “mainly common sense,” although he said every situation can be different.

It’s better to shop in groups during regular work hours, he said.

“Deny access,” Shumaker said, “the later you’re out the more likely you are to encounter those who commit crimes. They routinely do what they’re going to do after dark.”

Flashing around a lot of money and credit cards at the checkout counter or leaving a wallet or purse unattended in a shopping cart, are a few ways that thieves might target a person for a possible crime, he said.

Shumaker said the elements necessary for committing a crime are the criminal’s ability to do the crime, desire and opportunity.

An audience member said people are inviting trouble if they create an opportunity for a crime, such as leaving their doors unlocked.

Shumaker agreed.

“We should always be prepared, not caught unaware,” he said.

On the proactive side, Shumaker said a small flashlight or wasp spray kept on a keychain can be cheap –– but effective –– tools for added protection.

If an assailant is drunk, something as simple as flashing a light back and forth can make him or her dizzy and off-balance, Shumaker said.

He said, “Most importantly, we need to back off being so busy that we forget to stay aware and use common sense.”

Shumaker also talked some about the ALICE program, which teaches people what tactical advantages they have that can help should they ever encounter a potentially dangerous situation, whether that is in a store, a school, or other public place. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

Those key words –– for the most part self explanatory –– are a plan of action that can be applied when shoppers find themselves in a precarious position.

 

Tell me your story ideas. You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.