Police stepping up patrols during holiday shopping season to prevent crimes

IMPD (WISH Photo)
IMPD (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis police are stepping up patrols with the holiday shopping season right around the corner. They are hoping to prevent crimes like robbery and people breaking into cars.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police  are getting everything ready for Operation Holiday Helper. The north district did this last year and had more officers out patrolling the busy shopping areas.

“We’re expecting a big influx of people and that causes us some concerns so we put a plan in place for on duty and maybe some additional help to keep people safe during the season,” said Commander Chris Bailey, IMPD’s north district.

Hundreds of thousands of people will be out shopping on this Black Friday across central Indiana and police already have their eyes on criminals.

“This is not the time of year to do this,” said Bailey. “This is not the place to do it because your chances of being caught are going to sky rocketed.”

Bailey said thieves are hoping for an easy target this holiday season.

“Stealing things from vehicles is an easy crime, it takes just seconds and it’s usually very easy to get into cars and walk away with hundreds and thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts,” said Bailey.

Police said the crimes could happen anywhere and anytime. WZPL’s radio host Dave Smiley was having lunch with a friend this week when he became a target.

“Stole my laptop bag, and my GoPro camera and my radio show headphones and things like that,” said Smiley. “They hit the jackpot from me for sure.”

The break-in happened on Keystone Crossing near the Fashion Mall. Surveillance video captured the break in from start to finish.

“They weren’t scared at all sounds like they’ve done this before. They came right in on the video it shows it,” said Smiley. “Just backed right into that spot and walked around a little bit, boomed knocked the window out grabbed the stuff and heads on out.”

Police are reminding people to never leave anything valuable in your car where others can see it and if you have to–make several trips home when you’re done shopping. Police said don’t make yourself an easy target by leaving your doors unlocked.

“I left my doors unlocked with my purse and everything and my shoes and things were stolen and I had another purse in the car that was also stolen as well,” said Ariel Scott, theft victim.

Ariel Scott said she learned it the hard way.

“I was like angry and mad I just can’t explain it I was so hurt,” said Scott.

It happened on Jamestown and Arlington last week. Scott said she’s now planning to be extra careful on Black Friday.

“Well, I’m not going to have anything in the car that’s valuable obviously except for like the things that I’m buying,” she said. “I’m planning on like putting them in the trunk and things like that, keeping my doors locked and keeping my keys and things on me.”

Police said they will have officers on bicycles, officers in marked and undercover cars patrolling shopping centers this holiday season.