Safe holiday shopping

By Charlie Bartlett - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – Black Friday is just a couple of days away.  It's a popular time to shop, but also a time when crime is on the rise.

"Suspects tend to view somebody that's more vulnerable than they are and that is a crime of opportunity," said Commander Matt Vezinot.

"The criminal element looks for opportunities and of course more people at the shopping malls makes more opportunity," said Sergeant Mark Kraus.

Lake Charles Police and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office are stepping up patrols for the increased amount of shoppers.  They plan to keep crime to a minimum.

"Our public should know that we are going to put additional patrols out. Additional attention is going to be taken towards these shopping areas," said Kraus.

For the sixth year, the sheriff's office will institute their Annual Robbery Prevention Mobilization unit.  Commander Matt Vezinot says it's been able to deter crime.

"It's very vital. I think the public expects us to be there. I think the criminal element knows we're going to be out there so may be they will go somewhere else," said Vezinot.

Law enforcement will patrol all over the lake area and while their out the protect the public, shoppers can also keep themselves safe. Here's a couple of things shoppers should follow.

* Always be alert

* Park your car in a well-lit area

* Lock your car doors

* Have your bags in eyesight

* Put your packages in your car where no one can see them

* Be vigilant

But officials say if you do need help, don't hesitate.

"If you walk outside and see suspicious behavior in any degree, listen to that instinct because nine out of ten times your instinct is correct," said Kraus.

Law enforcement are working this special detail to keep shoppers safe, so they can enjoy their time while out in the public eye.

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