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LAPD, Councilmember Offer Tips On How Not To Become Prey For Thieves This Holiday Season PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 05:46

City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield

The man with the hooded sweatshirt broke the car window and in less than two seconds, grabbed a package inside and fled without looking frazzled.

Fortunately the "burglar" was a LAPD officer, demonstrating how thieves can wreak havoc during the holiday season by stealing the presents you bought for loved ones.

The demonstration, held at a Woodland Hills shopping center parking lot, was part of LAPD's anti-auto burglary campaign, "Lock It, Hide It, Keep It," which is now taking precedence as shoppers flock to malls and stores in search of Christmas gifts.

LAPD has registered 9,681 auto burglaries so far this year just in the San Fernando Valley, department officials said. Around Los Angeles there were 23,531 such incidents in 2012; so far this year there have been 23,265.

"Our biggest problem during the holiday season is people leaving things in plain sight," said LAPD Capt. Joel Justice of the Topanga Division.

"Last year, just in the holiday season, we had 76 crimes in and around the Topanga Mall. That's more than two incidents every day. We know that many of those crimes were preventable."

Justice offered some recommendations to prevent such crimes.

"Lock your auto, hide what you buy in the trunk or take the presents with you, if you're going to keep shopping," Justice said. "Or if you're going to leave them in the car, change your parking spot to reduce the probability of being robbed if a thief is watching."

Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield echoed those suggestions.

"The holiday shopping season is a great economic generator that many small businesses look forward to, but it can also be a magnet for crime," Blumenfield said. "The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is to take the opportunity away from the criminal. It's the holiday shopping season, and too many cars will get burglarized.

"Therefore, security is crucial in the holiday season and we need to help police by helping ourselves," added the councilman. "It's not just the function of the police; we've got to take control ourselves and there are things we can do ourselves to prevent us from being victims individually."

The LAPD's ongoing "Lock it, Hide it, Keep it" campaign began in 2010 in the San Fernando Valley, and has since been implemented replicated by law enforcement agencies across the country.

Safety tips for the holiday shopping season include:

◆ Park your vehicle in well-lit areas, preferably where there is a high volume of pedestrian traffic.

◆ Turn your wheels sharply to one side to prevent your vehicle from being towed by a thief.

◆ Lock your car even if you are going for a quick stop at a local convenience store or mini-mall.

◆ Do not leave anything inside your car. Place valuables in the trunk of your car or leave the items at home.

◆ When returning to your vehicle from making purchases, drive away and park at another location if you are planning on resuming shopping at the same shopping center. Do not leave your purchased items inside the car and return to the store. Thieves may be watching you.

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