Birmingham security expert: Stay alert; threat this season is more than just criminal

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s the season of giving and that means you and your family will likely be doing a lot of holiday shopping especially during Black Friday.

Birmingham leading security expert Jeff McDowell with McDowell Security wants to help you and your family by sharing information that can help protect you this time of year, not only from crime but from other threats as well.

Jeff and I sat down to discuss the ways you can stay safe while out and about.

“The first and most important thing is just to be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing right there because people have a tendency to not–they get tunnel vision and just focus on what they’re trying to get done.”

We’ve all done it—walked out of the store to our car while looking at or talking on the phone—and it makes us a target.

“That’s not very, not very good at all. Because that’s the time that you’re at your most vulnerable–when you’re in the parking lot or parking decks. You need to be paying more attention. Just put the phone away. End the call. Get to your car. Get in the car and get gone. Don’t loiter there in the car,” he emphasized.

McDowell says when you’re leaving a store, the parking lot is where most things will happen. He also advised not to drop off your shopping bags to the car mid-shopping spree.

“It’s best not to do that because people might see you put them in there and that makes your car a target,” McDowell said. “If you have to do it, cover them up so that people don’t see them.”

Some stores even offer free bag and coat check so you don’t have to worry about putting your new items in your car if you’ve bought a lot of heavy things and still have more shopping to do.

But McDowell says, the number one thing to take away is to always be on high alert. You just never know someone’s intentions.

“The other element is, if you see something say something. We not only have to worry about the criminal element, we also need to worry about the homeland security and the terrorist element as well,” McDowell said. “We do live in some crazy times and that is another element that we need to worry about. Just worry about both sides.”

McDowell Security is a local Alabama business that helps us get this important safety information out to the public. We hope these tips will help protect you and your family this season. McDowell Security is a full service security firm with trained personnel and specialized equipment to help protect your home, business or special event. They provide services for large corporate events to smaller private holiday parties–really anywhere in between, in addition to round the clock security for commercial real estate, and residential gated communities. They also provide neighborhood patrol to keep your community feeling safe and sound. Contact McDowell Security today and you can really feel safe for this holiday season.

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