How to stay safe while shopping during the Black Friday rush

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Many stores across Hampton Roads are beefing up security for Black Friday shopping this week, and police are warning customers about holiday shopping thieves who are looking for an opportunity to steal your gifts.

News 3's Aleah Hordges was in Virginia Beach Wednesday, where people have been going in and out of Pembroke Mall all day. She spoke with store managers about the big day ahead.

Inside Virginia Beach's Pembroke Mall

The manager of Kohl's said they're expecting 800 people starting Thursday and that shoppers will only have one way in and one way out because the mall will not be open. Many customers told News 3 they're prepared to avoid the worst from happening.

In the excitement of holiday shopping, experts say you still want to keep safety at the top of your mind, especially if you're walking into a busy store.

Related: Williamsburg Premium Outlets kick off Thanksgiving hours and some could get a free gift 

On Friday, it will be even more hectic.

Officers across Hampton Roads want you to shop safely by being aware of your surroundings when leaving your car and walking to the store. They recommend not shopping alone, parking in a well-lit area and keeping a close eye on your child while in the store.

"I've definitely heard all of those and not to rumble in your purse looking for your keys or your cell phone. Just walk out; be alert," said shopper Kim Collins.

Once you make it to your car, it's recommended you lock your door and stow your items away in the trunk where they’re not visible.

Pembroke Mall will be open bright and early at 8 a.m. Friday and will close at 10 p.m.