SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - With shoppers already out getting a head start on finding holiday deals, LT. Jason King with the D'Iberville Police Department says extra men in blue will be patrolling the shopping hot spots to deter thieves.
"What they're looking for is a target of opportunity, and that would be an open or unlocked car door because it doesn't cause a scene like breaking a window, which would make a lot more noise," said King.
King says like other times of the year, burglars are looking for an easy way to commit a crime, as shoppers deal with larger crowds and more distractions in the holiday rush.
"Usually most criminals prefer working in the cover of darkness. So, that's why we suggest people park in a well lit area, and as close to the store as possible," King noted.
He also says after you've made a purchase, make sure not to leave it visible in your car.
"If you have a trunk, put your valuables inside the trunk. The best rule of thumb is 'out of sight out of mind.' It works for criminals, too. If they see stuff out, it's easy to get, they're going to go after it. So if you can put it away or cover it in your vehicle, that's your best bet," said King.
He advises shoppers to use the buddy system as they navigate through the holiday shopping scramble.
"If you're shopping after dark, or anytime for that matter, it's best to always shop in groups or pairs. Make sure that you keep your valuables like your purse close to you. Try not to leave it in the buggy unattended," he said.
King says his department is also communicating with store managers and loss prevention officers on the Group Me smart phone app, in an effort to work together to quickly catch thieves.