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Safe shopping

By Staff | Nov 22, 2011

By TIFFANY REPECKI

trepecki@breezenewspapers.com

With the arrival of the holidays and Black Friday just around the corner, the Cape Coral police are offering up tips to keep residents safe this season.

“Historically, between Thanks-giving and around Christmas time, crimes of opportunity increase,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the CCPD, said.

The crimes can involve parking lot robberies, purse snatchings and vehicle burglaries. In the vehicle burglaries, valuables may be left in plain view and the burglar smashes a window, or the burglar targets an unlocked vehicle.

“It’s a noticeable increase,” Sizemore said of the jump in the crimes.

To help keep citizens safe during the holidays, the department has a few suggestions to keep in mind. When out Christmas shopping, people are likely to have multiple packages from multiple stores to carry back to the car.

“When you go back to your car, put them (the packages) in the trunk of your vehicle, or put them out of view,” he said.

Do not leave purses or wallets in plain view either. A person can reach in and grab a purse from the passenger’s seat or a wallet off of the dashboard.

“Be mindful of where your valuables are,” Sizemore said.

When leaving a store to head for the car, check out your surroundings.

“Are there people lurking around in the parking lot?” he said.

Shoppers can ask the store for an escort to their vehicle. If someone sees something suspicious going on, they can always contact the Cape police.

“Just be more aware of your surroundings,” Sizemore said.

Also, have a heightened awareness of what is going on with others.

“Looking out for yourself, but also looking out for other people,” he said.

Neighbors may leave town, as is typical with the holidays, so keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles, people or activity in the area. If an unknown vehicle is parked in a driveway, you can ask if you can help the strangers, or call police.

“Keep an eye out for your neighbors,” Sizemore said.

Also typical during the holiday season is holiday parties. Between now and New Year’s Eve, the likelihood of impaired drivers on the roads will increase.

“Be mindful of that,” Sizemore said. “We want everybody to have a great time, but please find another way home – don’t drive impaired.”

Over the next few months, residents may be tempted to open up all the windows and doors to their home to let the fresh cool air in. If you have to leave, if only for a few minutes to run to the store, lock them all back up.

It only takes a minute for someone to burglarize a home, Sizemore said.

As with every holiday season, the Cape police will increase patrols.

“We always step up our presence in parking lots on Black Friday and beyond,” he said, adding that multiple police cars may not mean something is going on.

“We don’t want people to wonder why there’s several vehicles in a parking lot,” Sizemore continued. “We’re there to be accessible and visible.”

The Cape Coral Police Department is located at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.

To contact the CCPD, call 574-3223 or visit: www.capecops.com.