By Mason Sandoval

It seems the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year. It’s gotten to the point where Christmas time literally starts the day after Thanksgiving. As soon as the doors open at a Target or a Walmart, it becomes “every man for himself.” Many have compared it to the stampede from “The Lion King” or “The Hunger Games.”

Theft and violence are everywhere during Black Friday; this can be anything from ripping the tag off of a shirt and then putting it on your bag or shoving someone out of the way to get the last toy on the shelf for your kid to running out the door with a new flat screen TV and knocking out the security guard trying to stop you. Most cases are worse than the latter.

The states with the most crime during Black Friday are Nevada, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. Crime isn’t exclusive to just these states on Black Friday however. It’s just the most frequent.

Most people think that most theft on Black Friday happens in the store but it’s actually the opposite. While it is worth noting that there is a two percent increase in theft in stores during Black Friday, there is a 28% increase in home burglaries while everyone is at the store as well as an increase in car break ins in the unattended cars in the parking lots. In addition to theft violence is also increased a great deal on Black Friday.

Most violence consists of trampling on others while rushing into the store as the doors open, but this can get deadly.

According to a West Virginian news station, years ago Walter Vance was shopping at a West Virginian Target for Black Friday when he collapsed. The 61 year-old pharmacist had already been dealing with a heart condition, but the chaos of Black Friday didn’t help. When he fell to the ground countless customers did absolutely nothing. In fact, they walked around him on their way to find bargains. Vance was brought to the hospital later, where he died.

Another incident occurred in Long Beach, Calif. According to the Press-Telegram in 2008 a stampede broke out as soon as the doors opened to a Walmart and a woman who was eight months pregnant was knocked over and trampled on, the trampling resulted in the woman’s unfortunate miscarriage.

Even hate crimes occur on Black Friday. One occurred in Jackson, Tennessee in 2012. According to the Jackson Sun, Black Friday was brutal for a woman named Akasha Adonis. The transgender woman and her mom were assaulted by other shoppers as soon as store personnel unlocked the doors to a Kohl’s Department Store. Adonis and her mother were hit by an assailant who pulled out her hair. Most disgustingly, the suspect put his hand in her mouth and tore three teeth out of her gums, breaking her jaw. As Adonis laid on the floor, Kohl’s staff greeted other shoppers until a woman called the cops.

So then what’s a safer alternative to Black Friday? Well, there’s always Cyber Monday where you can find similar deals online on websites like Ebay or Amazon. You could always wait until December to do your Christmas shopping. Lucky for us California is one of the safer states to shop in during Black Friday. However California doesn’t rank in the top ten safest states to shop in so stay safe folks!

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