Law enforcement experts warn shoppers to be aware of surroundings as Black Friday approaches

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Walmart shooting in Virginia has elevated concerns among some about the biggest retail shopping day of the year that’s coming up. 

All eyes are on Black Friday sales, but law enforcement experts say your eyes should also be on your surroundings when you hit the stores and malls to shop this weekend. 

Diana Reyes says she’s always been nervous when she goes out, even on routine trips like one on Wednesday to a West Dallas Walmart. 

“I’m the kind of person who’s perpetually on alert I’m always looking at my surroundings I don’t even like going to movie theaters,” she said.

Tuesday night’s deadly shooting inside a Virginia Walmart only amplified her fear. 

“It’s a tragedy any time of year but when it’s so close to the holidays it makes you hold your loved ones closer,” Reyes said. “It makes you scared to shop like I’m about to be.”

As North Texans prepare to fill shopping malls and retail centers this Friday, there’s a reminder to be attentive and vigilant, now that mass shootings are on the rise. 

Andy Harvey is a former high ranking Dallas police officer and South Texas police chief who’s now retired. 

He says everyone should go into crowded place already prepared to make one of two choices if confronted by an active shooter. 

“That is to fight like hell or run like hell and what I mean by fight, use everything in your body and your control and your disposal to fight off the offender and you don’t stop until the threat is completely gone,” Harvey said.

Harvey says police departments usually increase their presence around retailers during the holidays which helps deter violence and crime. 

Some customers say they would like to see that extend year-round. 

“I think we need to have more security, armed security,” said Dallas resident Andrew Ramirez.

The recent mass shootings may encourage more North Texans to carry firearms when they shop. 

“Especially in Texas, there are a lot of people carrying concealed handguns, and listen if something like that were to happen, we expect them to show up and do something about it,” Harvey said.

We’ve also recently seen several active shooter false alarms at area malls and at the State Fair, which led to panics that can be dangerous as well. 

That’s why the best advice is to be aware of your surroundings and report anything suspicious. 

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