The holiday shopping season is one of the most fun and exciting times of the year. You are thinking about your loved ones and finding the perfect gifts. Though many of us still use online shopping for many gifts, mall shopping is making a comeback. I, personally, hate thinking about the evils of the world around the holidays but it is so necessary. Parking lot crimes increase during the holiday shopping season and paying attention is so important. Thieves are so bold they even steal cars during this otherwise holly jolly time.
Smash and Grab Leads to Stolen Car
RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. — Police are warning shoppers to be extra vigilant as the busy shopping season is now in full swing.
In a statement, Richmond Heights Police Chief Gerry Rohr said Thursday afternoon in the Galleria Mall parking lot a woman was pushed to the ground while getting in her car, the thief then jumped in her car and took off.
“Stay off your phone and don’t text when you leave the store. The most important thing to do is kind of look around, make sure that nobody is following you, make sure nobody’s trying to walk into the general direction of your car. Once you get in your car, it’s a great idea to lock the car,” Barbieri said.
(Police officer) Barbieri said a lot of problems in shopping center parking lots are crimes of opportunity, urging people to keep things out of sight.
“They call them smash and grabs. So, they walk up to the window, they’ll smash the window, open the door, and then they’ll look through your glove compartment. They’ll look to see if there’s, you know, a wallet or a purse somewhere around, grab that and then they leave,” Barbieri said.
(Police officer) Hall said if you see anyone suspicious you can always go back in the mall or store. You can call security or the police department to walk you out of your vehicle.
“If you’re approached at your vehicle, the best thing to do is, unfortunately, to be compliant or get into your vehicle and lock the door as soon as possible and call 911,” Hall said.
Both said it’s also important to park in well-lit areas, avoid dimly lit garages and park as close as you can to the door.
Read the full article from KSDK5
What Can We Learn?
Unfortunately, criminals will take advantage of the increase in good spirits. They do not take a holiday during the holidays. Follow the advice given by the St Louis police. Stay in well-lit places, stay off your phone, and don’t use earbuds in public. If there is anyone that seems like a possible threat, treat them as such and get back inside the store or find a security officer as soon as you can. Most of us are looking to spread goodwill but that cannot cause us to forget the basics of self-protection. Keep your head up out there. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!