reviewed: Neighborhood watch covers holiday shopping

Kaylee Remington

Kaylee Remington

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Daily Kent Stater

A small group of residents gathered at the Kent State Police Department Tuesday night for a neighborhood watch meeting focusing on holiday shopping safety.

“It’s shopping time for the thieves,” Lt. Jayme Cole said.

Cole led the discussion by making the residents aware that a lot of shopping is done online, but it’s still safer to shop at the store.

“There’s definitely a better benefit of shopping at the store,” Cole said. “You’re much more likely to get better customer service.”

As Christmas approaches, Cole said theft will rise the closer it gets.

Cole offered advice to those who still prefer to physically shop at stores. He said to be safe at places where there is a large parking lot. More cars attract thieves and if anyone parks in one, they should park in a well-lighted area. If it’s well-lit, it will be harder for them to snoop around. Cole suggests if possible, shop somewhere “more local and smaller.”

Another piece of advice Cole added was to make sure your items aren’t out in the open.

“Store your bags in the trunk,” Cole said.

Putting your bags in the backseat is advertising for your belongings. If anyone likes to put their purchases in the backseat, cover them with a blanket.

Online shopping is becoming more prevalent and Cole said there are a lot of things to consider.

“Knowing who you’re dealing with online is important,” Cole said. He made references to eBay and Amazon in which many items are sold by former owners.

Cliff Bliss, a Kent resident, said he tries not to shop online.

“I shop online only if I can’t find something local,” Bliss said.

When Bliss does do online shopping, he looks for secure websites. Cole said finding a secure website will make your credit card number and other information encrypted. This will prevent from others stealing your information. Anyone can make sure a website is secure by a lock or a key icon in the web browser.

In addition to credit cards, Cole said it is the best way to pay for items online. With a debit card, the transaction goes straight to your account. But with a credit card, you can dispute the charges if there is something you didn’t purchase.

“It always pays to keep track of your charges,” said Peggy Cummings, a Kent resident. “I do that regularly.”

Instead of signing your card, Cole also said to put “See ID” instead.

Cole provided the residents with tips for safe shopping online and in store. He also reminded them once again about the rise in theft during holiday seasons.

“It’s gold for them (thieves).”