by Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - It's the height of the shopping season and while the cash registers are ringing so are the pockets of crooks. But they're not knocking over shopping malls.
This year they're kicking in backdoors and car windows making off with sometimes thousands of dollars in loot. NewsWest 9 went to find out, where the hot spots are and what police want you to know before you leave home.
They're snagging just about anything they can lay their hands on.
"TV's, electronics, video game systems, flat screen TV's," Sgt. Mark Garza, Midland Police said.
But what makes this holiday shoplifting season different than years past is where crooks are going to find their loot and it's not where you might think.
"The guys we're talking about are just walking the neighborhoods," Sgt. Garza said. "They're checking car doors to see what they can find."
Midland Police tell us the east side of town and the northwest side of town are the hot spots for neighborhood crime.
"They're unlocked," Sgt. Garza said. "We need to remember to lock our doors regardless of where you live. I know it's easy to feel comfortable because you live in a nice neighborhood, but that's how a lot of the home burglaries occur."
And at the Midland Target, security cameras are everywhere you look.
"We've got many cameras throughout the store keeping an eye in the sky if you will, keeping an eye on what's going on in the store at all times," Justin Bennett, Manager, Target said.
And as of the week before Christmas, the number of store thefts is zero - all thanks to the new technology.
"No one wants to get caught stealing," Bennett said. "So when they look up and know they're being videotaped, they're extra careful what they're doing in the store."
Tall city authorities are patrolling neighborhoods hoping to stop the thieves before they make off with your valuables. In fact, they're even rolling out their mobile command center giving an added presence in the parking lots. And just this week, six new crooks are in the slammer.
So when you head out shopping or on that family vacation police want to remind folks: lock it up.