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After the latest string of group smash-and-grab thefts, a security expert gives advice for staying safe while shopping

Ahead of the holidays and Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year, security officials are asking shoppers to be vigilant.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The holiday season is often the best time for retail deals and sales, but it’s also the best time for thieves to target vulnerable shoppers.

“The people that want to prey on you because they know you’re out shopping; you’re more than likely to have some money and credit cards," the founder and owner of Eagle Eye Security Services Bennie Cobb said. 

Cobb said as shopping ramps up so are the efforts of both public and private security. He said they have one goal to protect businesses and their customers. 

"The police officers can’t be there at all times, so you supplement that with private security," Cobb said. "Unfortunately, like law enforcement, there’s a shortage of private security officers." 

But there are a couple of things you can do to best protect you and your loved ones. Number one: decrease distractions; put away that cell phone before leaving and while entering a store and also lessen the time when leaving a store that you’re outside. You can do that by pulling out your keys before leaving a store.

In addition to being aware of your surroundings Cobb suggests, just as many criminals now act and travel in groups, shoppers should do the same, leveraging that power for their protection. 

“If you feel like you need an escort your vehicle the law enforcement officers that’s patrolling the malls they are there to assist you," Cobb said. "Don’t be afraid to ask. There’s comfort, there’s strength in numbers...so sometimes that’s a deterrent.” 

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