EUGENE, Ore. - With Black Friday just a week away, retailers across the nation are gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year. However local law enforcement says that thieves are also getting ready for one of the easiest times of year to target shoppers.
Lisa Barrong, a crime prevention sergeant, said that people can prepare as well by knowing some shopping safety tips to keep your bags and valuables out of the hands of thieves.
She says that one way to keep your items safe is using a little technique to deceive anyone eyeing valuables inside your car.
“Because most of the time they're on foot while they're watching this, they're not going to follow every single car that appears to be leaving the mall,” said Barrong.
If you haven't completed your shopping for the day but your arms are getting tired, officials say it's okay to go and put shopping bags inside your trunk. After you do so you want to drive to a different parking spot at the mall to give any observers the impression that you're leaving.
Valley River Center marketing manager Diana Bray says they have heightened security to ensure the safety of property in the parking lot.
“We've got a high profile team that works inside the mall and provides customer service and support inside as well as a vehicle or two that are on patrol and in the parking lot at all times outside,” said Bray.
One tip she gives is keeping your receipts in your purse or wallet instead of your shopping bags.
“Because if the bad guys do take your stuff one of the things they want to do is take you receipts and try and get money back from the store, so separate you receipts from the items you purchase,” said Bray.
Police say it's not just shopping bags thieves target. Purses could be an easy grab as well.
“Maybe this is the time to wear the fanny pack or wear the little string back pack or something like that to keep your hands free but don't be setting that purse down,” said Barrong.
Eugene Police say there isn't one shopping area that gets hit more than another, but that there are many thieves out there. Being aware of your surroundings and following safe shopping techniques will keep you and your presents safe this holiday shopping season.