Holiday shopping: Police work to prevent thefts at Burbank retailers

Burbank police are beefing up patrols around retail stores this holiday season in preparation for a jump in thefts typically seen between Thanksgiving and Christmas in the city’s main shopping areas, officials said.

Authorities are analyzing crime trends to see which retail stores have historically been hit the hardest, and are assigning extra officers, many of whom will be working overtime, to those areas, said Burbank Police Lt. Eric Deroian.

“We want to be preventative,” said Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse. Last year, the department spent $27,678 on overtime assignments for the retail detail, LaChasse said.

Over the last three years, more retail thefts and auto burglaries were reported between Thanksgiving and Christmas than each year’s monthly average, said Burbank Crime Analyst Jessica Statland.

Last year, 58 retail thefts and car burglaries were reported during the holiday season in the city’s main shopping venues, higher than the monthly average of 54 thefts.

Even so, thefts during the holidays have dropped in the last three years – in 2010, 83 incidents were reported – which Statland attributed to the retail detail and the department’s efforts to educate residents and retail businesses about crime prevention.

Deroian cautioned shoppers to park in well-lit areas and be vigilant about keeping valuables – like purses, electronics and shopping bags – out of sight in their cars.

“A lot of our thefts could be crimes of opportunity. People leave valuables on the car seats so a potential thief can see it,” Deroian said.

Additionally, online shoppers should be vigilant of bringing their shipments indoors in a timely fashion, Statland said.

“You just have to try to be as undesirable of a target as possible,” Statland said.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian,

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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