Criminal preying on shoppers during the holiday season

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The stores were packed for Black Friday, and they’ll probably stay that way for the next few weeks. While you search for the best in-store deals, auto burglars are shopping in the parking lots trying to steal your deals.

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 who works in the Criminal Investigation Division for the Columbus Police Department. Jones said 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,” said Ross. “Also, lock your car doors up. 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.”

From November to January, auto burglaries tend to rise by 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 said technology and cash are the jackpots. 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 your approach your vehicle or leave your vehicle.”

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

Categories: Crime, Featured, Local News, News Team