Expert Stresses Safety, Awareness During Busy Shopping Season

Distracted shoppers leave themselves vulnerable to theft, 'snatch and grab' robberies

NBCUniversal, Inc.

‘Tis the season for lots of frenzied shopping and distracted customers who leave themselves vulnerable to "snatch and grab" robberies, where the assailant simply grabs something from the victim’s hands and runs away.

“We live in a world where people, where we talk about situational awareness, meaning looking around. But nowadays people should just simply look up because that is exactly what happens,” said Jeff McKissack, owner and president of Defense by Design.

McKissack teaches risk management strategies to corporate clients in several industries.

Recently, he spoke with representatives of a large, high-end department store chain who related stories of customers even having their cellphones, the very thing that was distracting them from their surroundings, stolen right out of their hands.

“We have this impression that because some place is nice that means it is safe. It’s not the place. It’s the people,” McKissack said. “We have been raised to think in terms of safe places. We even see signs that say ‘Safe Place’ and it gives us, to me, a false sense of security. Places are neutral, people are not. So pay less attention to where you are [and] pay more attention to who you are around, or who is around you.”

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