The Palm Desert Police Department is amping up patrols this holiday season, in an effort to keep thieves from nabbing your recent purchases.
"The Palm Desert Police Department's annual Holiday Theft Suppression Program is in full force," Sergeant Mike Bianco said.
Bianco said that during this time of year, the department focuses on specialty patrols to stop theives from commiting crimes of opportunity, like breaking into vehicles upon spotting some new purchases.
"During the holidays, the prevention of theft related offenses is a major part of our mission which includes focusing upon reducing crime and reducing the number of calls for service," he said.
If you head to Westfield Palm Desert this weekend or next, you'll even spot some sheriff's personnel out on horseback, patrolling the mall parking lot areas.
According to Bianco, the Mounted Posse will assist Palm Desert police and Palm Desert Citizens on Patrol at the Westfield Shopping Center on December 15, 16, 22 and 23.
The Palm Desert Police Department offers the following suggestions for ensuring a safe holiday shopping season:
- Be alert to your surroundings at all times. Check for suspicious activity or people loitering before you park and exit your car.
- At night, park in a well-lit area and as close to the stores as possible. Hold your keys in your hand, ready to use, when you return to your car.
- When returning to your car, look around to see if anyone is following you or standing near your car. If you see anything suspicious, return to the store and notify the manager or call the police.
- Avoid ATM machines at night unless they are inside a store, and avoid carrying a lot of cash.
- Never leave purchases in plain sight inside your car; lock items in the trunk or cover them.
- If you become separated from your children while shopping, notify the store security officer, the store manager, and call the police as soon as possible. Be prepared to give police a complete description of what your child was wearing. Teach your children to never leave the store with anyone but you, and to contact a store employee at a cash register if they get lost or separated from you while shopping.
- Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, even for a minute. It is not only unsafe, it is against the law.
- While shopping, please leave pets at home, not in the car.