Triangle police issue tips for safe holiday shopping

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Experts say it’s been a record holiday shopping season across the United States.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 189 million consumers shopped from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. This marks a 14 percent increase from last year.

Jay and Tammy McClenen have made their lists and are making their rounds shopping for the holidays.

“Christmas has actually crept up really fast,” Tammy McClenen said. “We’re trying to get our shopping done, to go visit our family in Canada.”

The same goes for Keely Harpster who got a start on her shopping Sunday in Morrisville.

“I have a baby on the way, so I’ve been going to (the store) buybuy BABY, and now I’m going to Target to look for some little things,” Harpster said.

She said keeping her valuables safe while shopping is important, after someone broke into her car years ago during the holidays. She said someone stole items and $500.

“I never had it happen to me before, so that was very alarming. It kind of puts you on your guard,” Harpster said. “It definitely felt like (I was) taken advantage of.”

The McClenens recall seeing something similar happen around the holidays.

“I’ve seen somebody actually have their trunk open, and then, as they had their head turned, somebody went by really quick on a bike and grabbed their bag,” Tammy McClenen said.

Morrisville police Lt. Tim Hendrickson said officers have investigated cases of valuables being stolen during the holidays.

“People have left their purses unattended in their car while they’re shopping. They turn around and all of a sudden their purse is gone,” Hendrickson said.

The department is being more visible and interactive with shoppers, while spearheading their “Lock It or Lose It” campaign, reminding people to secure items and not leave them in plain sight.

“We try to increase patrols in those areas, foot patrols, officers walking, talking to people, talking to customers,” Hendrickson said. “With more police presence, hopefully, it will deter somebody.”

This initiative is giving those like Harpster peace of mind this holiday season.

“It’s important that that joy isn’t taken from us from people that are out there trying to take advantage of,” she said.

Morrisville police also recommend parking under street lights and other well-lit areas.

Officers said it’s also a good idea to keep your keys with you and to not leave them behind in your car, make sure windows are up and your doors are locked.

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

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