Cops Help You Shop Till You Drop

Cops Help You Shop Till You Drop

Holiday shopping season has arrived in the Washington, D.C., area and local law enforcement agencies have stepped up efforts to thwart potential thieves.

First stop is your local mall.

"We're taking additional officers from regular duties or extra duties, such as our neighborhood patrol unit or bike teams, and we're putting them in the mall," Police Lt. Chuck Riddle tells WTOP.

Riddle says Virginia's Tyson's shopping area has seen an uptick in crime for 2014. It's something he attributes to the arrival of the Silver Line, which is D.C.'s newest subway line.

"Since we started operations on the Silver Line on July 26, we've seen a tremendous increase in calls for service as well as criminal arrests," Riddle adds.

Alert shoppers key to stopping theft

Police in neighboring Prince William County have released tips for shoppers.

1. Do not carry large amounts of cash, or more than two credit cards.

2. Wallets should be carried in a front pants pocket, rather than in a rear pants pocket or a jacket.

3. Consolidate purchases into one or two large shopping bags so you can keep track of everything.

4. Try to not walk around shopping areas, banks and convenience stores alone.

5. Walk in well-lighted areas and avoid dark, unlit shortcuts.

Auto alarms used as safety tool

Another way to protect yourself when shopping at a mall is to use your car's security system to its fullest abilities. Many cars come with panic buttons that will set off an alarm even if you are still a short distance away from your vehicle.

Installing a vehicle's security system can be a difficult task. Many alarm systems require an installer to work with the vehicle's existing wiring system, which can be a challenge for a beginner.

Deciding whether to hire a professional or self-install the system will depend on the type of alarm system to be installed and the details involved in the installation.

Prior to installing an alarm system, you should plan ahead and know what steps are required to install the system. Because most systems will require hardwiring, the mechanic or person installing the system should know how the vehicle is wired and be familiar with the vehicle's computer system prior to attempting the installation.


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