SFPD to enhance patrols during holiday shopping season

Black Friday sales marked the start of the holiday shopping season last week, and San Francisco police are making changes to ensure that shoppers in The City stay safe.

All of The City’s police stations intend to ramp up foot patrols in their districts during the holiday season to reduce the likelihood of robberies and other crimes.

There will also be additional horse-mounted and plainclothes officers, and police will bump up traffic enforcement.

Officers are also encouraging people scouring The City for the perfect gifts to take safety precautions of their own.

Shoppers should always remain alert and aware of their surroundings in busy shopping areas and pay attention to anyone who may be following them, police said.

Police warned that criminals often target people who are distracted by electronic devices like cell phones and MP3 players.

Having your keys in your hand when you arrive at your car will reduce the time spent lingering outside of the vehicle, a prime time for criminals to take advantage of shoppers, police said.

Police also recommend that shoppers avoid overburdening themselves with too many bags and packages when walking around The City, and suggest keeping parcels in a locked car trunk instead.

Shopping with other people can greatly reduce the chance of being robbed, especially after dark, police said.

Shoppers should keep wallets in hard-to-reach places, and cash and identification cards should be kept separate, police said. Do not carry your passport or social security card with you, they warned.

In the event of a robbery, police advise simply handing over whatever is being demanded to avoid injury. Stolen property should be reported to police immediately.

For more personal safety tips, call San Francisco Safety Awareness for Everyone at (415) 553-1984 or visit www.sfsafe.org.

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