How to keep your stuff and loved ones safe during the shopping season

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Many people still have lots of Christmas shopping to do, so that means the stores and malls will be crowded and children can get lost easily.

Parents do you have a plan if you become separated from your children?

At the Mall at Turtle Creek in Jonesboro, Mall Marketing Coordinator Sarah McGavran said you need to plan ahead before venturing out. McGavran, "For little kids if you want to tell them before you come shopping on a Saturday afternoon just talk with them. If we get separated go to the Christmas tree."

The Mall at Turtle Creek was pretty busy even during a weekday. McGavran, ""On a typical day we get from 30 to 40 Thousand on our last busy Saturday just a few days ago we had almost 60 Thousand in one day"

It would be easy for a child to get distracted and take off. "Thankfully it doesn't happen very often." McGavran said. "Usually it's just a meeting place or a time was miss communicated."

The mall has its own security and during the holidays augments them with off-duty police officers from JPD and the Craighead County Sheriff's Office. They also constantly monitor security cameras. But those bringing children need to be prepared.

One important thing that you need to make your kids understand is, If you get separated you need to find a place to meet like the Christmas tree where Santa is sitting or one of their favorite stores.

Linda Daniels, grandmother of Chase, Emma and Zoe said she has one rule. Daniels, "We've always used the rule, they have to see me and if they can't see me then I can't see them, so that means stay close."

And parents take note of what your child is wearing, like their shirt, pants, coat and especially their shoes. That will make it easier for security or police to find and identify your child if he or she becomes lost.

Outside in the parking lot the mall provides security and transportation to those who have a lot to carry, or just don't feel safe walking to their cars alone. The cart is usually in the parking lot when business starts to pick up inside.

Mall security officer Timothy Lamb also reminds us that if you buy or have a lot of stuff in your car, make sure and hide it in your car. Lamb, "Try not to leave any valuables in your car when you are at a parking space. If you have to make sure they are covered, make sure your car is locked and your windows rolled up."

Lamb also says it's a good idea to take a moment to write down your credit card numbers and keep that record at home in case your car is broken in to, or your purse or wallet is stolen.

Common sense, and a little bit of planning ahead with your kids should ensure a safe and fun shopping experience.

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