Police warning people to shop safely - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Police warning people to shop safely

Posted: Updated:

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - What started as an armed robbery at a Jacksonville ATM quickly escalated ending in death of 23 year-old Marcus Israel.  Although violent crime like that may be uncommon, police say personal property theft is and tends to increase this time of year.

"We do see a lot of crimes around the holiday season," said Lt. Cody Burk, Pulaski County Sheriff's Department.  "In shopping malls and other places, people leave gifts and things in the car and they get their cars broken into."

Burk says most holiday time theft is preventable – they're generally crimes of opportunity.

"They go for the easiest target they can," said Burk.

Placing shopping bags, gifts and purses out of sight under blankets or in a trunk without windows makes it hard for would-be thieves to see them.

Shopping in groups or with a shopping partner is something else police suggest.  It's what Dana Shelton did with her friend while shopping at Kmart on Sunday night. 

"I have three daughters and I tell them the same thing – try to get in before dark and as far as the ATM goes don't do that after dark at all," said Shelton.

Although Shelton was shopping after dark, not only did she have her shopping partner but also had her keys out and finger hovering over the "panic" button just in case anything were to go awry. 

Police warn if out in the dark and alone to be aware of your surroundings, checking the area around where you're shopping or pulling up to that ATM.  If approaching an ATM late at night, be sure to circle the area around the ATM to make sure no one is lurking and waiting.

If you do feel nervous, many local law enforcement agencies have their officers circulating shopping plaza and malls like Little Rock Police. 

"Ask them to escort you to your car if you feel like you're frightened," said Burk.  "They will do that."