Brick police say they will begin adding extra officers during the holiday shopping season to patrol the shopping plazas within the township, a practice that has proven successful in past years.
The extra patrols will begin next Friday, Nov. 28 and will conclude on Friday, Dec. 26. The extra details will be on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding Christmas, Sgt. Henry Drew said. The hours of the details will vary between afternoons and evenings.
“These extra details have been very successful in the past allowing officers to have numerous positive contacts with the people that work, shop and visit the township’s plazas as well as provide for a safer environment during the Holiday Season,” Drew said.
Additionally, he said, the department is reminding the public to guard against the theft of their purses, wallets and purchases and never leave them unattended while shopping.
“Thefts in shopping areas increase during the holiday seasons,” Drew said. “These crimes are popular among identity thieves who target credit cards, personal checks, and identification.”
The thieves attempt to make purchases with the stolen credit cards and checks before a victim has a chance to notify financial institutions or law enforcement. Purses or wallets are typically taken from the victim’s cart as they are momentarily distracted while shopping or placing purchases in their vehicles.
“Theft of valuables from vehicles is typically a crime of opportunity as those victimized, in many cases, have left their vehicle unlocked,” Drew said.
The police department recommends that shoppers take the following precautions:
- Do not carry unnecessary identification, credit cards, or social security cards with you. Keep these at home in a safe place.
- For cards that you must carry with you, record information such as financial institution name and contact information, card number, etc. and keep it at home in a safe place.
- While shopping, do not place your purse or wallet in your cart. Carry it where you have constant control of it or carry just a wallet on your person and leave your purse at home or in your vehicle out view from others.
- When you are in the parking lot, do not place your purse in an open trunk of your car while loading purchases as thieves sometimes monitor parking lots for this type of opportunity.
- Do not leave any valuable items left in plain view in your vehicle.
- Ensure that you lock your vehicle at all times.
- Stay alert to any suspicious people you see in shopping and parking areas. Many victims report that they saw the suspects lurking around them before a purse or wallet was stolen. Sometimes thieves work in pairs and one will distract the victim by engaging in conversation with them while the other steals the wallet or purse.
- Report any suspicious individuals to employees or to the police department immediately.
- If your purse or wallet is stolen, notify the police immediately; do not wait until you get home. Try to obtain a description of the suspect or suspect vehicle.
- Never confront or pursue a suspect, as this could be dangerous.
- As soon as possible after a theft, notify any applicable credit card companies, banks, etc.