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Police encourage shoppers to be vigilant during holiday season

The Columbia and Jefferson City Police Departments want to remind citizens of some simple precautions to take while shopping this holiday season to avoid becoming a victim of a crime.

CPD spokesperson Bryana Larimer said it’s best not to shop alone, especially if the shopping trip will continue into the nighttime hours. Larimer also recommends parking as close to the business as possible and always locking the car doors.

“Thefts from vehicles in general are on the rise,” Larimer said. “That’s something that through the holiday season we really just encourage citizens to make sure they’re not leaving valuables in plain sight in the vehicle.”

Sgt. Doug Ruediger with the Jefferson City Police Department said purchases should be locked up in the trunk of the car if possible.

“Don’t leave your phone, or your purses, or electronic devices in the open, because people will smash the window open and take it,” he said. “Best thing is to lock your car, take your valuables.”

Larimer also advised shoppers who may drop off purchases at their car to then move it to another parking spot.

“It’s very important to give the appearance that you are leaving,” she said. “There are those people, and they are out there, that will sit in parking lots and wait to steal those items out of your car because they know you’ve gone back inside the business.”

Larimer said it’s also best to avoid carrying too many shopping bags in case of an emergency and taking out large amounts of money to pay for an item.

CPD also wants to remind citizens that the department’s lobby can be used as an in-person online exchange zone.

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