DOWNTOWN — With the holiday shopping season underway, police have launched the "Hide it, Lock it, or Lose it" campaign to ensure purchases don't become a target for thieves.
The campaign was created to reduce the number of vehicle break-ins, which the city has seen in waves. Officers say they hope to stem the tide for the holiday season, Glendale Police Sgt. John Gilkerson said.
"We want to stop it from being a bigger problem during the holiday season," he said.
Thieves burglarized 35 vehicles in October, up from 27 in September, according to the Police Department. The total edged up in November to 43.
So far for the year through October, vehicle burglaries are down to 564, compared with 681 for the same period last year, according to police statistics.
In most vehicle burglaries, portable global navigation systems have been stolen because the motorists often leave the devices in plain view, Gilkerson said.
"It takes seconds for someone to open a window and break into a car," he said.
Residents who live in apartment buildings with subterranean parking structures are most at risk of having their vehicles burglarized because they often leave their valuables inside, Gilkerson said.
"It's kind of a one-stop shop for thieves," he said.
The Police Department's shopping safety message is a critical reminder for shoppers this holiday season, said Eric Olson, vice president of the Downtown Glendale Merchant's Assn.
"You don't want to tempt fate by leaving something in the back of your car," he said.
If shoppers opt to leave gifts inside their cars while they continue shopping, Gilkerson said they should move their vehicles to another parking spot in case a thief is watching them.