LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With the holiday season now here, so is the overflow of shoppers looking for a good deal on Black Friday.
Millions of people are expected to be doing their holiday shopping over the coming weeks and with that comes a greater risk of danger.
Tammy Kiefer usually ramps up her holiday shopping during the week of Black Friday of each year. She says she knows how dangerous shopping can be but always makes sure she's prepared to handle any potential threat.
"I have pepper spray in my purse at all times, I look where I park, I'm conscious if there are lights, I look around me before I get out and before I get back in. I have my keys ready, I'm watching that no one is following me in the store, as I leave," Kiefer says.
Sergeant Timothy Jenkins with the Lawton Police Department says Kiefer has the right idea but says even more steps can be taken to ensure you and your property are safe while you are out.
"If you are leaving your stuff in the car while you go into another store, make sure your stuff is not in plain sight," Jenkins said. "Make sure your trunk is secure and your car is secure. Also, if you are going to go shopping out at a store at any period, take somebody with you, don't go alone."
Jenkins says this time of year we also have to worry about con artists sitting out in front of stores.
"I always tell people, trust your 6th sense. If it seems fishy or suspicious, it probably is. If someone approaches you asking for money or gifts, just be aware, use your best judgment, be careful. If it's within reason and you feel it is comfortable to do it or safe to do it, go ahead and do it," Jenkins said.
While some like to look our best at the store, Jenkins says there are some items you should simply leave at home.
"Don't take big purses, wear expensive jewelry, big chains, things of that nature. Like I said, people notice that kind of thing and you become a target," Jenkins said. "So dress modestly, don't wear all your fancy jewelry and things of that nature."
Kiefer says being prepared for the worst-case scenario is a very simple step that is a very important part of her holiday shopping experience.
"Because somebody is always watching. The regular people who shop are not out on these days, it's just a whole different crowd," Kiefer said.
Jenkins said no matter how you are paying for your items in the holiday season, it is smart to only carry your cash or credit cards in your front pockets to ensure you won't be pick-pocketed.