TPD Uses Social Media and QR Codes to Keep Holiday Shoppers Safe

This notice is archived content and this information may no longer be accurate.

In conjunction with the police mall operation, the Tampa Police Department has partnered with Westshore Plaza and Old Navy to educate citizens with safety tips and allow them to save money at the same time through Quick Response Codes (QR Codes). TPD’s QR codes will be displayed on kiosks throughout Westshore Plaza with the message Stay Safe and Save. As smartphone users scan the code, they will receive holiday safety crime prevention tips and a discount to a Westshore store. The first participant is Old Navy.

A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode, which has an encoded web address, text or other information. Smartphone users can scan the QR codes to access this information.

During the annual mall operation, Operation Secret Santa, officers have a strong presence to deter crime. They will patrol on horseback, motorcycles and unmarked police cars in the shopping mall parking lots.

Holiday Shopping Tips:

Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you. If you see people "hanging around" parking garages, parking lots, or the outside of stores, avoid the area. Notify the police or security department.

If possible, shop before dark. Coordinate shopping trips with a friend if you plan to be out late. Always park your car in a well lit area.

Lock your car doors and windows even if you are only gone for a few minutes.

Keep packages and other valuables out of public view, preferably locked in the trunk.

Park near street lights if possible and have your keys in hand when you return to your car. Always check the interior of your car before you unlock the door to get in.

To discourage purse snatchers, don’t overburden yourself with packages. Have your purchases delivered whenever practical.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card whenever possible.

Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm with the strap across your body.

Keep a wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.

Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard and ask for help if they should become separated in a store or shopping mall. They should never go into a parking lot alone.

Andrea Davis