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Police Warn Shoppers to Remain Vigilant while Shopping

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WESLACO – Christmas is less than a week away and many shoppers are picking up last-minute gifts. Local police want people to remain vigilant and safe during this time.

Cars filled the parking lots of various shopping plazas in Weslaco.

“There’s a lot more travelers and a lot more shoppers,” Winter Texan Verna Boss said. She comes all the way from Minnesota.

She mentioned she never worries about locking her car back home. “No, absolutely not, we have a small town,” she said.

Boss said the holiday season has her being extra careful.

“Oh I always lock my car, yeah and I always lock it not with my key lock but hand, manually,” she said.

Weslaco Police Officer Eric Hernandez said every year around this time they see a spike in burglaries.

“It definitely is because we have a lot more people out there doing shopping. Unfortunately, that invited burglars,” he said.

Hernandez explained if people are getting ready to go out on a day of shopping, there are three steps that they should follow. The first step is for people to take any personal belongings, like cell phones and purses, with them while they’re shopping.

The next step is shoppers should make sure to hide all of their previous purchases as they continue shopping. And lastly, make sure the vehicle is locked.

“For whatever reason, we do encounter that. We’ll show up to a report where someone was just victimized and when we get there, they’re like I just didn’t lock my doors... That’s why we’re trying to reinforce that, lock, take and hide,” Hernandez explained.

Hernandez said they also have a community station near the shopping plazas to survey the area.

Boss offered a piece of advice from one shopper to another. “Just try to make sure to remember where you parked your car at all times,” she said.

Hernandez added if someone finds themselves out shopping past sunset, they may be able to have a security officer escort them to their car if they feel unsafe, depending on each store’s policy.

Tips for Staying Safe While Shopping

  • Make sure to keep your car parked in well-lit areas; also shopping in pairs will give you an extra pair of eyes.
  • If you find yourself having to go back to your car to drop off some of your shopping bags, you should try and move your vehicle to another location.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and always have your car keys in hand ready to go when you’re walking to your car.
  • If you feel like someone is following you, press your car alarm to distract the person.

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