Public Safety

You Better Watch Out: Sheriff Warns of Theft During Holiday Shopping

‘Tis the season of giving. Unfortunately, it can be the season of taking, thanks to crooks.

As the holidays near and the shopping ramps up, the Sheriff’s Department is implementing its annual Holiday Watch to help prevent crimes. The increased security will begin on Black Friday and continue through Jan. 1, 2015.

The crime-fighting initiative consists of both enforcement and education. Residents can expect more patrols in neighborhoods, malls, trolleys, coasters, parking lots and more.

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Fliers will be handed out by crime prevention specialists and Sheriff’s deputies will sit high above the crowded parking lots in the SKYWATCH to keep an eye on cars and activity in large shopping centers throughout the County. Residents can also expect to see mobile command posts, bicycle patrols and DUI stops.

Deputies will even be giving out free steering wheel locks to help prevent car theft in Imperial Beach on Dec. 6. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., residents can visit Veterans Park, at 1075 8th St., to claim their lock. Priority will be given to those with cars reported most stolen in 2013 as ranked by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

There are plenty of ways to keep the holiday Grinches away. Follow these crime tips for a safe season:

Out and About

  • Shop during the day and, when possible, with a friend.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t overload your arms with packages and bags while shopping.
  • Park in a well-lit area.
  • Have your keys out and ready when approaching your car.
  • Be aware of how you carry your purse or wallet; would it be easy for someone to take it?
  • Remember to lock your car doors and take valuables with you when shopping.
  • When storing away items you’ve purchased in the car, place them out of sight. Your best bet is in a locked trunk.

At Home

  • Always lock your doors and windows, especially at night and when you’re away
  • Avoid opening doors to strangers
  • Place gifts where they can’t be seen from outside your home.
  • Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Specialists offer a free security check to show vulnerabilities in your home.
  • After opening presents, don’t pile up empty gift boxes on the street. This gives burglars a hint of expensive items in your home. Instead, keep boxes inside until right before your trash pickup. If you see someone casing your neighborhood, report the suspicious activity to the non-emergency line at 858-565-5200.

When Going on Vacation

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact