November 25, 2005
As you know this time of year stores are packed, and that creates a prime opportunity for shoplifters, but police have a message for those crooks; they are on high alert.
Be on alert, because as you're shopping this holiday season so are the thieves.
"During the] holiday season, we'll see more shop lifting occuring, we'll see more brazen attempts at larcenies," said Charlottesville Police Officer Harvey Finkel.
Finkel shared some tips for keeping shoplifters from preying on you.
One big tip: don't take that whole handbag with you. "Take your ID and take your credit card with you. Put it in your pocket. Leave the handbag in the car locked in a trunk securely," said Finkel.
Your money is safest in your front pocket.
"I don't carry a purse. I just carry a wallet and put it in my pocket," said shopper Nicky Taylor
Bring packages out to your car frequently so you're not holding too many items. Don't just throw your packages in the back seat--lock your purchases in the trunk and be sure to lock your car doors.
"Lock your car. Don't even think about it. Lock it twice and make sure you hear it beep off. Also make sure everything you purchased is out of sight," said shopper John Scott.
"[If you have] a station wagon...put [purchases] underneath a blanket or cover. If your car has a rear deck cover, pull that over it, so people can't see what you just put in there," said Finkel.
He also reminds shoppers to use common sense. Park in lit areas. Stay alert to your surroundings. Be aware of strangers in the parking lot.
"Look in the car when you get to the car so that you know if there's someone in there," said Finkel
When you walk to your car, keep your keys in your hands, so you're not fumbling around looking for them, and don't forget where you parked your car. You don't want to be wandering around a dark parking lot alone searching for your vehicle.
Charlottesville Police officials say they will have extra officers patrolling the shopping centers during the holiday season.