Tips to Safer Holiday Shopping - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/05/02 - Tyler

Tips to Safer Holiday Shopping

   Police are urging East Texas shoppers to not let their guard down this holiday season. Every year, authorities see crime rise during the holiday season, especially thefts in shopping center parking lots.

   Some East Texans are reducing their chances of being victims; others are leaving themselves vulnerable while they shop. Shopping for your family and friends this holiday may be the only thing on your mind after you leave the parking lot. But criminals see the busy lots as prime targets.

   "If you look in the car, you already see, there's money showing," says officer James McCraw. "It's not much showing, but to the average thief that's money in the pocket."

   Officer James McCraw took a survey of cars to see if East Texans are keeping their valuables and presents safe this season.

   Car 1- you already heard about the money, but there were also cd's, a case and cell phone chord. Car-2.... "We look right next door and we see what at first appeared to me to be a purse but looks more like a backpack." says Tyler Officer James McCraw. "It could have a computer in there for all I know. Another potential target. Put it in the trunk."

   We spotted Sue and her granddaughter Ashley doing just that. Good examples of how to shop safely.

   "We just put it back there because it is safer there," says Sue Herren.

   "We stay in like big groups. We never split up," says Ashley Barton. "It may take a little longer, but it is a lot safer."

   In fact, if their car gets to full of presents, they go home to unload. Not the case for all shoppers.

   SUV drivers don't have the luxury of a trunk, but you can still lessen the desire of thieves.

   "A lot of them have what you call a cargo cover," says officer McCraw. "Just getting it out of sight helps, tremendously. If you've got a seat you can put it under or you can throw a coat over it or a blanket."

   Police advise both men and women to keep the cash they carry to a minimum. So if your purse is snatched or your wallet is taken, the Christmas fund remains safe, rather than stolen.

   Dana Dixon, reporting.

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