Holiday shoppers beware of thieves

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Source: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just days before Christmas and all through the mall… last minute shoppers are out. It’s time to get on ...

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just days before Christmas and all through the mall… last minute shoppers are out. It’s time to get on the ball. Along with those shoppers, expect to see extra eyes and ears because someone- not quite St. Nick- could soon be near. Knowing the good guys are there to keep you safe makes all the difference. “People know that every year around this time, that JSO will put more police officers in the mall- same thing with the Orange park mall. They have more police in that area,” said Smith, News4jax Crime and Safety Expert.
Remember, bad guys don’t care about being nice. While you’re out shopping, they’ll rip you off, without thinking twice.   “People are looking for that opportunity. They’re expecting you to be relaxed, they’re expecting you to not be focused,” said Smith. It only takes a second for thieves to strike. Smith said don’t make it easy for them by holding your purse in your hand. Put your purse up on your shoulder instead, While protecting yourself is a big thing, no doubt some of the most brazen of Grinches will take whatever’s left out. “If your car is equipped properly, you can just put it underneath. Close it down. Someone walking by now is not going to be able to see it. They’re going to keep going and try to find a car with something in plain view,” said Smith. If you’re able to, Smith also suggests using a purse that can go across your body. And above all, if anyone out shopping sees anything that concerns them, they need to go to security or police. Talk to your children about safety as well.
Shoppers may notice more police at many of our local malls, preventing bad guys from taking advantage of the extra foot traffic and adjusted holiday hours. Smith said just having a greater police presence can be enough to deter bad guys from trying something. Both the Avenues Mall and the St. Johns Town center have adjusted their security and police presence due to the increased traffic. Smith said this is a great start, but shoppers also have to be on the lookout.  
Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.
Source: News 4 Jax

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