IMPD holiday patrol helps shoppers protect themselves

IMPD ride along

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, and you can expect to see officers patrolling in some of the busiest shopping centers in Indianapolis.

Officers with IMPD North District will be patrolling in plain clothes and in uniform, on bikes and in their patrol cars in areas like Keystone Crossing and Castleton Mall.

24-Hour News 8 got a chance to go on a patrol with an officer Friday night. Officers spend their patrol near shopping centers checking for anything suspicious and trying to keep people from becoming victims of theft.

“This time, especially the holiday season, vehicle larcenies are heavy up here,” said Officer Tiffany Rand, with IMPD.

Rand spent Friday night doing foot patrols in the parking lot of Castleton Mall.

“It only takes a second for someone to punch your window out and grab,” she said.

Rand and other officers are inspecting shoppers’ cars at random this holiday season.

“Even with a flashlight, it’s very hard to see inside this one,” she said looking into a car.

Rand said she checked to see if people leave valuables in plain sight — often people fail the inspection.

“Shopping bags, laptops, laptop bags just out in the passenger seat, not really trying to hide them at all,” she said.

The owner of one car came back to find Rand waiting.

“We’re making sure everything is secure,” she told the driver. “Just one thing I saw with your car: You had some shopping bags in the back seat.”

Once the inspection is completed, officers will leave a yellow note on the windshield of the car letting the owner know how they did on the inspection.

“If we see other things, I’m just filling them in, and then also at the end, it says ‘Your vehicle was secure and gave no indication of any valuables inside good job,’” she said. “If you’re doing the right thing, we want to let you know keep it up.”

This inspection is another way for officers to remind shoppers of what could happen if you leave things out in the open.

“Maybe they don’t think it’s going to happen to them. It will. If you do this, it will happen to you,” she said.

Rand said if you do have to leave things in your car, try to keep them in the trunk or in the glove compartment. If you have shopping bags, you can always try to cover the bags with a blanket.

“Just taking those small little steps will prevent yourself from coming out and your window being busted,” she said.

Police said if you see anything suspicious while out shopping this holiday season, please dial 911.