Authorities Highlight Safety Tips for Holiday Shoppers

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RIO HONDO – With Black Friday hours away, police are reminding Rio Grande Valley shoppers to protect their cars and themselves from burglars this shopping season.

Officials say locking your doors may not be enough to keep your car safe.

"Number one, don't have them in plain view," said William Bilokury, Rio Hondo Public Safety Director. "It's like a display and a lot of vehicles are broken into just by breaking the glass and they can remove the items."

Christina Martinez was a victim of a burglary earlier this year. Her backpack was stolen from her friend's vehicle.

"You hear about it all the time and you never think it happens to you until it does," said Martinez, "and you're just really in shock."

Bilokury told CHANNEL 5 NEWS making a plan can keep you and your car out of harm's way. 

"If you plan on doing a lot of shopping, which a lot of people do, take those items, put them in the car, and take them home," said Bilokury. "And then come back and do some more shopping.”

This could help keep you safe from burglars who may be watching in parking lots.

Shoppers are encouraged to park as close to a store's entrance as possible. Bilokury also recommends parking near a law enforcement surveillance booth if you can.

"They're either going to be manned or they'll have a camera system that is being operated by the patrol officers," said Bilokury.

Martinez doesn't want Valley residents to experience her pain this holiday season.

"So if you're out shopping and you're buying something for someone else and that gets stolen it's a bad feeling to have," said Martinez. "I wouldn't want that on anyone else."

Officials also recommend keeping cash and credit cards out of sight. People are also encouraged to keep your cell phone handy in case of an emergency.

AAA also offers the following parking lot safety tips:

  • If you're doing a lot of shopping, bring a friend. They can help you carry bags and you won't look as vulnerable.
  • When shopping at night find a well-lit place to park.
  • Lock your car doors as soon as you get into your car.


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