KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
November 20, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
As shoppers fill local parking lots, so do thieves waiting to steal their holiday cheer and their purchases. Check out these important tips from local authorities for how Katy families can stay safe while shopping this holiday season.
What will holiday shopping look like this year?
Businesses are tempting shoppers with early online specials, and some large chain stores will be closed on Thanksgiving to encourage people to skip this traditionally crowded shopping day. However, one thing is certain, thieves will be scouring parking lots looking for their next victims.
Distractions can lead to dangerous situations, any time of day. Parents with young children and individuals using their cell phones may not notice someone approaching them. In a split second, their vulnerability could make them a robbery or car-jacking victim.
“Shoppers should stay off their phones and pay attention to their surroundings,” says Major Chad Norvell with Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “Scan the area around your car as you approach it.”
Shoppers often visit more than one store in a day, accumulating bags of merchandise. Authorities report that thieves often prey on vehicles with visible packages. Some watch for drivers “hiding” their purchases before entering another store.
“Secure your packages prior to moving to the next location,” says Major Norvell.
Chad Norvell has been elected the new Fort Bend County Constable, Precinct 3.
Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap offers the following advice:
Be sure to lock your doors and fully close all windows too. Many victims who report car burglaries did not lock their doors.
Never leave your keys in your vehicle, or leave it running while unattended.
Do not hide spare keys in or under your car.
Move any valuables and shopping bags out of sight before you park your vehicle. Thieves aren’t just looking for expensive items. They will often simply take loose change, car chargers, sunglasses or garage door openers.
Protect your vehicle with anti-theft devices such as a steering wheel lock, electronic alarm, ignition kill-switch or a tracking device.
If you discover your car has been burglarized, call your local law enforcement agency BEFORE touching anything on or inside your vehicle. There is a chance the thief left behind fingerprints, so you should treat this as a crime scene without damaging any potential evidence.
Most stores are encouraging shoppers to shop online and are offering deals including early Black Friday specials. Here’s a list (according to BlackFriday.com) of major chains that are open and closed this Thanksgiving.
Don’t forget to protect your purchases at home as well, including protecting packages from porch pirates. Don’t miss these tips to stay safe and don’t become a victim this holiday season.