Sandy Springs police step up patrols to protect holiday shoppers

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Sandy Springs police are keeping an eye on parking lots after an increase in vehicle break-ins over the last month.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas was with officers as he patrolled parking lots Wednesday night and handed out cards to shoppers with a checklist on the back of what was spotted in their car that shouldn't have been.

"During the holidays we do get an influx of vehicle break-ins and burglaries," Sgt. Norm Vik with the Sandy Springs Police Department said.

The extra patrols are an effort to not only try to catch thieves in the act, but to prevent shoppers from leaving things behind that might lure thieves to break into their cars.

"It's very easy to become a victim and we just look inside the cars and see if there's anything obvious," Vik said.

Darren Mack was one of those people that received a card from police after they spotted bags in the front seat of his car.

"Normally I do put it in my trunk, but this time I'm kind of in a rush," Mack said.

Police across the metro are urging everyone to take the time to secure their belongings because the next time they might not be so lucky.

"A lot of these crimes are crimes of opportunity," Vik said.

Car break-ins are up about 10 percent in Sandy Springs for last month compared to the year before.

The Woodstock Police Department sent out a checklist of things to think about while you're out and about shopping this holiday season:

• Place valuables in your trunk before you arrive. In SUVs, use the included rear storage cover or towels to cover your valuables. Thieves can watch you from afar when you arrive and begin to transfer and hide belongings.

• Lock all your windows and doors. This simple step often mistakenly gets overlooked during the rush of the shopping season.

• Remove your GPS and its mount from sight.

• Remove you cellphone and take it with you.

• Remove laptops and tablets from sight.

• Remove all power cords from sight so as not to advertise what items might be hidden within your vehicle.

• Remove from sight your book bags, brief cases, shopping bags, gym bags and purses.

• Remove all money and credit/debit cards from sight.

• Leave you firearms at home. Thieves will take them, turning the situation dangerous.

• Upon exiting stores with merchandise do not place them inside of your vehicle then enter another store. This can advertise your vehicle to thieves. Rather, hide your valuables and move your car to another parking spot if you intend to continue to shop.

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