Black Friday and holiday shopping tips - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Black Friday and holiday shopping tips

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Chances are you've had your turkey, you've watched TV and now you're thinking about holiday shopping. And some of you will set your alarm clocks and brave the weather and the crowds Friday.

Just as one holiday finishes, another quickly approaches and so holiday shopping season officially begins. And with it comes some pretty great deals, sometimes even steals. But while you're inside shopping, someone could be outside looking for items to steal.

The Dubuque Police Department says they're ready for the holiday rush. And they want you to be too.

They want to remind everyone the following:

- Always lock your vehicle after entering or leaving it and park in well-lighted areas. Check in and around your vehicle before entering. Do not approach if there is anyone or anything suspicious in or around your vehicle.

- If you must keep valuables in your vehicle, secure them in the trunk or out of sight (if a trunk is not available).

- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash when traveling/shopping. Use credit cards or traveler's checks. If you do carry large amounts of cash, avoid displaying it openly.

- Do not stop to render aid to stranded motorists or pedestrians, call for assistance on your cell phone instead. If you're involved in a crash and don't feel comfortable exiting your vehicle, call for assistance using your cell phone and remain in your locked vehicle until help arrives. If you must communicate with the other party involved, lower your window slightly.

- Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle (to include first aid supplies, food/water and blankets/warm clothing). If your vehicle breaks down, raise the hood and attach a white flag or something similar to an antenna or door handle and call for help on your cell phone. If someone stops to render aid, remain in your locked vehicle and signal for them to call for help or lower your window slightly to communicate. If you must abandon your vehicle, keep all passengers together.

- Inform a loved one or friend of your travel plans and check in with them periodically.

- Avoid distractions while driving. If possible, have your passengers assume responsibility for climate control, radio operation, navigation, etc. Avoid talking on cellular phones, texting, web browsing, reading, eating, etc. while driving.

- Monitor weather/road conditions and plan accordingly. In poor conditions, slow down or avoid driving if possible.

- Make sure your vehicle is ready - especially in colder climates. Have your vehicle serviced and checked prior to your trip and before the onset of winter weather.

- Never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or when sleep-deprived. Designate a sober/alert driver or remain at your location until you are no longer impaired.

- Always wear your safety belt.

- Shop with friends and/or loved ones - "Safety in numbers" still applies.

- Don't overload yourself by carrying too many packages. Have your keys and cell phone ready as you walk to your vehicle. If alone, check into a security escort.

- Always remain aware of your surroundings. If something doesn't look or feel right - it probably isn't. Report all suspicious/criminal behavior to local law enforcement.

- If you shop online, make sure you are patronizing reputable websites. Pay with your credit card and only on secure websites (https:). Insure your computer security is current and effective before shopping online. Review your credit card statements (and credit history) thoroughly and often.

But perhaps the biggest tip for Black Friday and holiday shoppers, is one police say starts with you.

"Just patience and common sense. There's going to be a significant increase of traffic, pedestrians and shoppers. Obviously on black Friday and through out the remainder of the season," Lt. Scott Baxter said.

One other tip police want to remind you: after the gifts are opened. Be careful what you put out on the curb for garbage.

For instance-- if you got a new big screen TV and you leave the box out on the curb a thief may target your home, knowing there's a new TV inside.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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