HPD, retailers team up to prevent purse thefts

HOUSTON Focusing too much on shopping and not enough on your wallet could end up costing you.

On Tuesday, a mom turned her back to her shopping cart and her purse to compare prices while doing some holiday grocery shopping. That's when an opportunistic thief calmly glided by and stole her wallet. He was out of the store before she even realized.

Luckily, what happened on Tuesday was just a demonstration.

"We do see an uptick in the city in general, in general opportunistic crimes during the holidays," said Brian Hall with the Greater Houston Loss Prevention Alliance.

That's why H-E-B and HPD staged a purse-stealing demonstration via The Greater Houston Loss Prevention Alliance. The 'Safe Shopping Starts With You' holiday safety campaign also includes Randall's, Fiesta, Kroger, Target and Walmart.

Tami Phillips already knows to raise her game during the holidays.

"When I stepped out, I looked around me to look to see what was going on," Phillips said.

Officers advise keeping your purse on your shoulder but realize that's not always practical.

"If you're not going to have it on your shoulder, I'd encourage you to have it zipped up nice and tight and maybe even secured with the baby fasteners inside a shopping cart," Hall said. "That would eliminate the possibility of someone taking the entire purse, and it would certainly take longer to unzip a purse and gets some contents out of the inside."

In the meantime Phillips will keep her purse on her shoulder and her eyes open for the opportunistic thief.

"If you see someone that is loitering around you, generally you might want to keep your distance," she said.

Keeping a close eye on your wallet and purse is just one step in avoiding becoming a crime victim while shopping. There are other precautions you need to take involve what's in your wallet .

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