How to keep holiday thieves out of your gifts in Region 8

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - All across Region eight shopping mall parking lots are packed as folks gear up for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.  They have just one week left before Christmas and the last-minute shopping is already underway.

Shopper Beau Thompson was one of the many bargain hunters who crowded The Mall at Turtle Creek on the eve of one of the busiest shopping weekends.

"I've been from one end of the mall to the other end of the mall shopping for my wife and it's probably going to be busier this weekend.  It's busy for a Friday afternoon," said Thompson.

"A lot of people fighting over parking spaces and just a lot of crowds in general, but with that comes a lot of specific type of crimes that always give us problems during this season," said Jonesboro Police Department Sgt. Stephen McDaniel.

Sgt. McDaniel said the holidays come with problems like theft.

"The safest thing to do is to take your expensive purchase on to your home and lock it up," said McDaniel.

When you've finished your shopping, experts suggest you bring your presents out to your car and put them in the back that way you're keeping them out of sight of thieves.

"Some people may look in the back of your rig and see presents and bust out a window and then you're out a window and have to explain that to the insurance company.  You've got presents you've bought that you have to go back and re-do so it's money out of your pocket," said Thompson.

Folks with The Mall at Turtle Creek are also working to keep you safe!  Extra security officers are brought in during the holiday season so that shoppers and vendors have extra eyes watching.

"We want to be safe throughout the year of course, but with an increased number of people in the mall in a small space we want to make sure everybody's best interests are taken care of," said Sarah McGavran.

Around 100 security cameras are scanning the inside of the mall and the parking lot.  Many department stores also have their own cameras.  If you're shopping alone and at night it can be scary to walk out to your car.

"When you're walking out to your car if you're feeling a little uncomfortable, call security stop by the security office and we will walk you out to your car," said McGavran.

Use the buddy system when you go shopping and try to park in a well lit area.  Don't leave your packages in plain view of thieves and don't leave items like your GPS, I-pod, or other electronics where they can tempt thieves.  If you don't have a trunk, Jonesboro E-911 said you can take a dark colored garbage bag with you and put your purchases inside because it is less likely to attract thieves than leaving the presents in plain sight.

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