Keep Safety in Mind during Sales Tax Holiday Shopping
By Office of Communication
Posted on August 17, 2012, August 17, 2012

The state sales tax holiday began today. As people are running from store to store searching for the best deals, the Arlington Police Department encourages shoppers to take safety precautions to protect you, your families and your newly purchased items.

Arlington stores are expected to be filled with people using the tax-free weekend and the sales that accompany it for back-to-school shopping. Between August 17-19, 2012, the state waives the sales tax for most clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies that are less than $100. Just as stores take advantage of the sales tax holiday to encourage shoppers, there are also bad guys out there using the distractions caused by busy stores to their benefit. Therefore, it is important to take special safety precautions while out and about this weekend.

Parents should keep a close eye on young children and make sure they are accompanied everywhere they go, including the restroom. Older children should be provided a pre-designated meeting point just in case they are separated from parents and be taught who to ask for help, such as store employees, security or officers. They should never leave the store or go to the parking lot to look for parents or guardians.

In parked vehicles, it is important that items - regardless of value - not be left in plain view. Change left in a console or a pair of sunglasses are enough to entice a vehicle burglar to break a window or test the door to see if the car is locked. Place newly purchased items in the trunk and do so before driving to a new location. Putting shopping bags in the trunk after arriving at location allows criminals to see where the items are stored.

Arlington Police Officers will be working in the retail areas across the city to help manage traffic flow. Large crowds are expected, which will include many vehicles on the roads. Please, be patient and courteous to other drivers, and follow the directions of officers working traffic.

Most important for shoppers, is to have an enjoyable experience, all while remaining vigilant. Report any suspicious activity to security or officers in the area or call 911.

Shoppers are encouraged to consider these safety tips:

  • Before hitting the busy roadways, plan your travel routes and avoid distractions inside of the vehicle. Keep thumbs on the wheel. Do not text and drive.
  • Stay alert. Be safe. Report suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1.
  • Always accompany young children to the restroom and make certain to keep a close eye on them at all times while shopping.
  • Always lock vehicle doors. Never keep packages and valuable items in view inside of your vehicle.
  • Shop before dark. When out after nightfall, park in well-lit areas. Walk confidently to your vehicle and have your keys in hand.
  • Shop with friends or relatives- there is safety in numbers. Teach children what to do if you become separated.
  • Never count cash in open areas or after leaving an ATM.
  • When making a credit card purchase, keep personal information such as home address and phone number private.

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