Conroe Today, Tips for staying safe, alert this holiday shopping season



Conroe Today


HOUSTON — As stores are gearing up for throngs of holiday shoppers trying to get the best deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, customers should also be gearing up with knowledge to protect themselves and their loved ones while out and about.

James B. Towle, host and moderator of “Stop the Threat,” a television show that depicts reenactments of real crime scenes as they happened across the country, offers sound advice to keep holiday shoppers safe.

“The most important thing that people tend to forget around the holidays is to be aware of your surroundings,” said Towle. Many people show up at a shopping center or mall and are more concerned with finding a close parking space or are talking with others on their cell phone and are not paying attention to the details around them.

Observe the area you are in and put your cell phone down!

Cell phones are a major cause of distraction. If you are talking on your phone in a congested area or while shopping, you may miss key details in your surroundings because you are simply not paying attention, Towle said.

Towle recommends that after you park your car, visually scan the parking lot or area in all directions. Stop to listen and turn to observe if you are being followed, especially if you have numerous packages and are alone. Hearing a would-be attacker may be your first line of defense to stop the threat.

When in crowded areas such as the mall or other popular areas such as the Galleria, City Centre or Discovery Green, Towle recommends walking on the periphery to prevent contact with others who may bump into you. Look close and farther away to know where your next move or direction will be.

Park your car in well-lit parking lots.

Always park in a well-lit area, even if you have to walk a bit farther to your vehicle, said Towle. Many shopping centers have security staff; you can always request that security escort you to your car. Towle also reminds patrons that when approaching your vehicle at night, have your keys in-hand. “Especially for women, it is a good idea to keep a small bottle of pepper spray or even hair spray in your purse. Anything that you can spray in the eyes,” said Towle. These items can be used to temporarily blind a would-be attacker and give you valuable time to escape and call for help.

Put packages and other items out-of-sight.

Every holiday season, the news is filled with reports of cars that were broken into and gifts were stolen because shoppers left their packages out in the open on a seat. Towle strongly recommends placing all packages inside the trunk of your car where it is harder to break in and where a would-be thief cannot see. Also, if you are licensed to carry a concealed handgun, do not leave it in the car, glove box or any other area which is not secured and can be easily accessed.

“It is much better to be safe than sorry,” said Towle.

James B. Towle, host of “Stop the Threat” television series is a writer, hunter, sporting clays/trigger sports competitor and gun enthusiast who supports American sportsman traditions and responsible legally-armed carry.

“Stop the Threat” is a round-table discussion featuring guest experts in firearms, law enforcement, self-defense, law or other professional fields that can offer insight into crime situations. Each episode features a reenactment of a real crime story as they happened from across the country and provides a forum of special guest experts in firearms, law enforcement, self-defense, law and other fields that can offer insight into crime situations.

Stop the Threat currently airs on the Pursuit Channel and on the Sportsman Channel beginning in December.

For more information about Stop the Threat or James B. Towle, please visit