While many people will be heading out to stores later this week looking to get a steal, there are some just looking to steal.
Each year, during this time of the year when holiday shopping season starts to pick up. We start to talk about the number of criminals that are out trying to take advantage of the shoppers that are looking for the good deals.
The Winchester Police Department will be stepping up patrols starting Thanksgiving night all the way into Black Friday. From November 13th, 201 to November 13th of this year there were 246 reported shopliftings in the City of Winchester. 230 arrests were made in that time period for those crimes. In some cases, more than one person was arrested in one shoplifting incident. Another fact is that at least one person was arrested in 175 of the incidents. A majority of those happened at Walmart. The number one thing you can do to not become a victim of this type of crime is to just be aware.
"Be aware of your surroundings," said Winchester Police Department Cpt. Doug Watson. "When you are out shopping be cautious about being on the phone or text messaging. We want you to be aware of who is around you. What's going on around you. Most of the time, if people are aware of their surroundings, they can keep themselves from becoming a victim of a crime."
Some of the other things to keep in mine while you're shopping this holiday season is to make sure your purse is in your sight at all times. One suggestion is to not bring your purse into stores if you don't have to. Instead, just slip a credit card and your id in your front pocket. Shop with friends. Park in well lit areas. These are just some of the things you can do to make sure you are not a victim of a crime
"We do have both obviously shoplifting from the stores, but another concern and some things that have sparked up over the years is people leave their packages out in the open," said Watson. "Whether it be in a shopping cart or in their vehicles or they don't have them secured or well hidden that's an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of them. We would certainly recommend locking them in the trunk or putting them out of sight if they don't have somewhere secure to store them."
The Winchester Police Department also wants to remind people to be careful when driving during the holiday shopping season, especially during the Black Friday weekend. There will be a lot of cars on the roads and lot's of starting and stopping.
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