ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The season of giving is also the season of stealing for criminals.
Police report package thefts and car break-ins traditionally spike this time of year.
That’s why the St. Petersburg Police Department is kicking off a safety campaign aimed at protecting shoppers while at the mall and protecting your belongings.
Officers fanned out at the Tyrone Square Mall, passing out pamphlets to shoppers going into and coming out of the mall.
The department is also beefing up patrols around busy shopping areas. Most find comfort in knowing there’s going to be an increased law enforcement presence.
Officer Stefani Lesperance gave Niki McNealy one of the fliers. McNealy was returning to her car with her family at the time.
“I think it’s a good thing. You have shoppers out here spending their hard-earned money for their loved ones,” said McNealy. “So to know our stuff is being protected, that’s a good thing.”
St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway was among the officers giving out the brochures and speaking to customers. He adds, don’t leave anything in your car that could tempt a thief.
“Don’t leave your packages where people can see them. Lock them in the trunk of your car,” said Chief Holloway.
He went on to say sometimes cars are broken into when people drop purchases off and go back in to shop for more.
“If you can, sometime, just move your car if you’re going to be here for a long period of time, so that person that is watching you, they don’t think you’re just going in and out.”
Police are also asking shoppers to be their eyes and ears and report any suspicious activity.