Columbus police explain the best way to keep holiday shoppers safe

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Dozens of folks are bound to hit shopping plazas on Black Friday.

While YOU search for the best in-store deals, auto burglars are doing the same, instead, they’re trying to steal what’s in your car.

They’re considered to be invisible until after a crime happens.

Oftentimes, car burglars are waiting for you to leave your vehicle.

“People are not thinking, they’re kind of busy,” said Captain Rick Jones, CPD.

Captain Rick Jones works in the Criminal Investigation Division for the Columbus Police Department.

Jones says auto burglaries spike during the holiday season.

While most shoppers move from store to store…criminals are doing the same in the parking lot.

“When you’re out shopping as far as your cars go be sure that you put those packages in the trunk of your car. Also, lock your car doors up,” said Jones. “We’ve had a lot of thefts that occurred from people leaving their doors unlocked and leaving their windows down. They’re leaving purses and items like that in the back seat so it’s easy pickings.”

And it’s a common trend, from November to January, auto burglaries rise nearly 20-percent.

” You’re going to have people who just can’t afford things so they steal it. You’re going to have people with drug and alcohol problems and that don’t have any money, they’re going to steal it. ”

Jones says technology and cash are the jackpot.

A few years ago, Jones went to Lee Mall to see how many car owners left their vehicles unlocked or placed valuables on the dashboard…almost half were listed.

So how do you keep yourself from becoming a victim?

” You have to be very mindful of your surroundings not only has your persons but as you approach your vehicle or leave your vehicle,” said Jones.

Jones says you can call the police department or store security to escort you to your vehicle if you see suspicious activity.

Categories: Local News