HPD launches Holiday Shopping Safety Campaign

November 29, 2011 2:50:13 PM PST
Black Friday has come and gone but the holiday shopping continues. And while you're looking for a good deal, thieves may be looking to make you their next target, and Houston police say people leave themselves vulnerable all the time.

Car burglaries citywide actually are down 10 percent this year. HPD has spent the last two years focusing its efforts on educating the public about prevention. But this time of year is a problem because people tend to get lax because there's so much going on.

"If they can see it, they'll break your window and get it," shopper Sarah Petrie said.

Petrie should know. Her purse was stolen from the backseat of the car.

"Once I learned my lesson once, I wasn't going to learn it again. So yeah, I think it's important to not leave anything in the backseat," Petrie said.

Especially while she's shopping during the holidays, as we found out, she's not the only one taking precautions.

"I might do Target today, Walmart tomorrow but I don't go from store to store and constantly fill up my car," shopper Narie Banks said.

On Tuesday, HPD teamed up with six of the city's largest retailers to kick off the third annual Holiday Shopping Safety Campaign. Police conducted spot checks on vehicles parked in a busy shopping center parking lot to see which shoppers were being careless.

"There's just so many people moving around and about. People aren't paying attention as much," HPD officer Brian Alms said.

Using our Crime Tracker, we determined during last year's holiday shopping season -- from Black Friday to Christmas Day -- the parking lots at the Galleria mall had the most reported car break-ins with 16. Willowbrook had 11, Greenspoint with 10, while Memorial City and Northwest Mall had six. Northline, Sharpstown, Baybrook and West Oaks malls had the fewest.

While a lot of what police are saying is common sense, Angela Harris admits a friendly reminder doesn't hurt.

"Especially in this holiday season with a lot of thefts and that kind of thing going on, I'm very, very appreciative that the police would come by and look at my car and give me a heads up of anything that might be wrong," Harris said.

Most vehicle break-ins at busy mall parking lots occur around 5pm, followed by 2pm and 11am. Saturday had the highest number of car break-ins with 17, followed by Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday.

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