Shoppers Beware of Holiday Thieves

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The holiday shopping season is right around the corner and Police are bracing for a jump in shoplifting, car burglaries, and other crimes.

Both law enforcement and store security say there are also a few things shoppers can do to keep safe.

Holiday shopping may bring in more customers for local businesses, but to local thieves and crooks, customers can turn into easy targets.

So stores and law enforcement have to stay on their toes.

"We're going to have our lights on pretty much all day and night to make sure that our guests are safe," David Sanchez, Asset Protection Manager at the Odessa Target Store, said. "We're just that much more aware of what's going on."

Every two minutes in Texas, a crook burglarizes a car and during the holiday season their window shopping only increases.

"As a police department, we'll be concentrating on directing patrols at all the major shopping centers," Corporal Casey Reed with the Odessa Police Department, said. "This year, we'll probably have a parking lot patrol, like we had last year. All those officers do is stay in the parking lots. There may be a few special things we might do under cover."

Reed says you don't have to wear a badge to do your part.

"During the holiday season the burglaries and thefts go up," Reed said." And a lot of it is because of people are leaving stuff out in the open. "

Both police and stores say shoppers can protect themselves by keeping shopping bags out of sight by either placing them in the trunk or using a blanket to cover them up.

They say customers should use common sense and not tempt thieves by leaving purses, wallets, GPS systems, or other items in their car.

Shoppers should also stay just as aware in the store as out.

"If you're shopping inside of a store, don't leave your purse inside of the basket," Reed said. "You may turn around for 5 seconds and they'll already be long gone."