by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:
ATLANTA - Atlanta Police said they will increase patrols at busy retail areas in anticipation of the holiday shopping rush.
In Buckhead, Atlanta Police Department Major Van Hobbs said they have seen more than a 20-percent increase in thefts from vehicles this year compared to last.
Hobbs told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri officers are urging shoppers to take precautions to prevent being targeted by thieves.
Yvonne Grant told Viteri she tries not to leave valuables in her car.
"Temptation. It's temptation, basically, that's what it is," she said.
APD is adding foot patrols and bike officers leading up to Black Friday, as well as using undercover officers and bait cars to identify thieves.
Hobbs also cautioned against dropping purchases off at the car and returning inside to keep shopping.
"Well, if they've seen you do that, then you've marked your vehicle for them,” Hobbs said.
Instead, he suggested shoppers should actually move their car to another parking space or go home to drop bags off and return.
He also urged people not to leave valuables exposed or visibly move items into the trunk.
"If they walk by and look into the car and see it, it's a crime of opportunity," Hobbs explained.
According to one incident report from Lenox Square this month, a man told police someone stole close to $50,000 worth of items from his car, including designer luggage, a gold Rolex and jewelry.
He told investigators someone saw him put items in his trunk before going into the mall.
Atlanta police said extra patrols will go into full effect after Thanksgiving at shopping centers throughout the city.