Security warnings for holiday shoppers - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Security warnings for holiday shoppers

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The excitement of holiday shopping has begun, but there are some things we can't get rid of every Christmas - grinches. This year, holiday thieves are those grinches.

The Mishawaka Police Department reported a long list of shoplifting and car break-ins over the holiday weekend. "It's one of the number one calls we get," said Lt. Tim Williams. "And over the past weekend, we had 14 arrests for shoplifting."

Lt. Williams believes the sluggish economy and the rise in holiday shopping will bring about more shoplifters and car thefts. And with only 3 weeks till Christmas, he says that number is going to increase. "It doesn't matter what vehicle it is. If we leave those items out where they're easily accessible and it just takes a person breaking out a window, they're going to do that," he says.

To protect yourself, police tell us to leave all personal belongings in the trunk. If you have a trunk that's visible, cover your belongings with a dark jacket or blanket.

General Manager of Concord Mall, Bob Thatcher, says they've already upped security by 2-3 patrols. They will be circulating the parking lots during hours of operation to ensure no car break ins happen. "Well it's certainly always important to have reminder regarding parking lot safety. Particularly with packages, purses, and other valuables," said Thatcher.

Lt. Williams admits, it can be tough to do. "We're always in a hurry trying to get from one place to the other. Our schedules are full... but it's just that one time. And you think you're going to go in for a few minutes, come back out, and it's gone, " said Williams.

Williams suggests that instead of leaving pricey and large shopping bags in your vehicle, drop them off at home before going to your next destination.

More holiday shopping safety tips:

  • Park in a well lit area
  • Park in an area where you can see the entrance from your vehicle
  • Leave personal belongings in your trunk
  • Do not talk on your cell phone when walking out to your car
  • When you immediately get into your car, lock your doors
  • Always practice "The Buddy System"
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