As the holiday season begins, we see an increase in vehicle prowls. Vehicles are left in parking lots for longer durations as we shop. Shoppers buy items and leave newly purchased items in their cars in plain view, and continue their shopping.
This allows thieves extra time to take advantage of shoppers and steal those items. Often, thieves cause damage to the vehicle such as a broken window or damaged car lock.
A victim has to deal with not only a vandalized vehicle but items possibly purchased as gifts are gone. Shoppers should store items in the trunk and out of sight to help deter thieves. Large sport utility vehicles don’t have trunks and the glass is expensive. Be cognizant of this risk and attempt to find the best way to safeguard your property while shopping. If you have a GPS, secure the power cords and take the GPS with you. Also, do not leave phone chargers or other items that thieves can take and earn money from.
Personal safety is also a factor. During this time of the year, thieves attempt to play on the giving nature of our citizens. There is always safety in numbers; if you have the ability to shop with family or friends this can help deter people from attempting to speak with you in a parking lot. Thieves don’t want to deal with a group of people if they are attempting to scam you. Thieves generally avoid large groups because they are typically more successful in dealing with a single victim.
Families give donations throughout this season and most often it is to a charity they are familiar with. If you are giving to a new charity, you are urged to do some research so you know where your money is going. If you come across someone in the parking lot or near the store entrance who says they are collecting donations for a charity and their behavior changes when you ask questions, you should question giving them money. Also, if the collector becomes aggressive or “pushy” you should reconsider giving to them as well. There could be a possibility that this person is attempting to scam you.
I hope your family has a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
If you have any questions, please contact Sean Bell, at the Lacey Police Department, 360-459-4333.