The Halloween decorations and candy are off the shelves and they have decked the malls with bells, bows, and balls. Christmas tunes are piped throughout the stores and Santa's big chair is awaiting his arrival.
Santa and his helpers are not the only ones anticipated as seasonal arrivals at the many Florida shopping malls. The pressure for providing gifts and the extra cash and gift cards in purses and pockets motivates another holiday harbinger – the thief. When the holidays are getting close, the crime rate at malls rises with the tide of shoppers.
People become distracted by their gift list and all the holiday promotions, providing easier targets for predators, cons, and crooks. Along with theft, violent crimes such as assault, rape and., abductions also increase during the holidays. Shoppers are often forced to park in remote sections of the crowded lot or in poorly lit areas, making them easy prey. Children have easily lured away from their distracted parents in stores. Planning your shopping with an emphasis on safety first is the best way to avoid becoming a victim.
In the Parking Lot
- Always park in a brightly lit area with clear visibility.
- Never leave gifts or packages in plain sight in your car. Smash and grab take seconds and no one pays attention to car alarms anymore.
- When walking to your car, be sure that no one is following you. If someone is suspect turn and walk back to the stores taking a different route.
- Look inside and around your car prior to opening the door to be sure you are alone.
- Shop with a friend of family member whenever possible.
Women should always carry their pocketbook across their chests and closed. Never leave your bag in the child seat of a shopping cart. It takes a split second distraction, to provide an opportunity for theft. Men should carry their wallets in the front pocket of their pants, rather than the rear.
- Never leave your shopping cart to use a restroom or fitting room of there is paid merchandise in it.
- If you are carrying purchased merchandise from another store bring it into the fitting room with you.
- When paying, be sure that no one can see you enter a pin number. Never flash your cash.
- Never let children out of your sight in a store. If you must use the restroom bring the child in with you. Even if the child is of the opposite sex it is better to be safe. Most people will understand.
- If possible, shop with someone else so you can take turns watching the kids.
- Ask if the store maintains a lost child program. Many stores have training for employees to cover all exits if a lost child announcement is made.
- Never let children enter an aisle or department by themselves. Stay close always.
Shopping Mall owners have the highest duty of protection and care for those who are invited onto the property, which includes shoppers, under Florida premises liability law. An owner must maintain the premises in reasonably safe condition and the invitee must be provided warnings of those areas that are not safe. A shopper who is the victim of a crime, especially a crime of violence where an injury occurred, could hold the shopping mall legally responsible if security was lacking, lighting was inadequate or surveillance equipment was not working, as examples.
If you should become the victim of a crime at a Florida shopping mall notify the proper authorities, such as the police and mall security, immediately. If you were hurt, seek medical attention right away, even if your injuries seem minor. Then retain the services of a qualified Florida premises liability attorney.
A Florida premises liability lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading up to, during and following the crime. Surveillance tapes will be examined, the presence or lack of security determined and witnesses will be interviewed. As the victim of a crime, you may be entitled to compensatory damages.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a Florida personal injury law firm that wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. If you were the victim of a shopping mall crime or were injured on the mall property, call 727-451-6900 for a free evaluation of your case.