Stay safe in holiday shopping---with police deployments---and your own precautions
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You've spent the last couple month saving for those hot holiday items; and now you just have to keep them safe.
The holiday shopping season is a hot time for thieves.
Local law enforcement is gearing up but there are things you can do on your own to help keep yourself safe.
To a thief a store parking lot is a whole lot of targets but you can avoid being one of them, through police presence and your own presence of mind.
There are still plenty of shoppers at Tucson Spectrum shopping center, though it's not quite the rush it would be on the weekend.
Smart shoppers know, to be safe, they need to be alert to everything around them, especially in the holiday rush.
Cassandra Becerra says, "I think I'm more aware is the thing. When I'm walking out of the store, I'm not on my cellphone and I have my keys in my hand ready to go, just be aware of my surroundings."
Tucson Police say to keep thieves from breaking into your car, stash packages out of sight so crooks won't decide you car's loaded with enough good stuff to be a worthwhile target.
And of course don't forget to lock it.
Police are stepping up patrols, with more officers in the shopping centers. How many officers and where they go depends on the mix of stores in each patrol division.
Tucson Police Sergeant Maria Hawke says at Park Place, for example,
"They always have off duty officers at the mall anyway but the East Side Division will focus all of their additional resources in a holiday deployment capacity at some of those peak hours for shopping and send some addition resources just to help kind of keep an eye on things especially in the parking lots and at the mall itself."
TPD may use undercover officers but the department doesn't say much about that.
John Gilbert joked with us he's too big for anyone to mess with him.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith said: "You know even big guys are not immune."
Gilbert says, "You're right about that too because from the back is from the back. You're right but I don't think it's something that people really pay attention and take notice of."
Smith: "Think they should?"
Gilbert: "I think they should because you just don't know in today's time. So I think it's something you should pay attention to."
TPD will keep its special shopping deployments going past Christmas. They'll go through New Year's to cover the shopping surge after Christmas.