TAMPA — Police will patrol mall parking lots this week to prevent car thefts and shoplifting as the holiday shopping season kicks off with Black Friday.
Increased patrol on horseback, motorcycles and unmarked patrol cars starts Wednesday. Police will patrol major shopping areas in the city, including all those along Dale Mabry Highway through Jan. 3.
Police will also be out reminding shoppers not to leave valuables where they can be seen easily inside a car.
More than $35 million in goods are stolen daily from American retailers, police said.
Police offered these safety tips for holiday shoppers:
• Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Avoid areas like parking garages or parking lots where people are loitering. Notify police or security.
• If possible, shop before dark. Coordinate shopping trips with a friend if you plan to be out late. Always park your car in a well-lit area.
• Lock your car doors and windows even if you are only gone for a few minutes.
• Keep packages and other valuables in the car trunk.
• Park near street lights if possible and have your keys in hand when you return to your car. Always check the interior of your car before you unlock the door to get in.
• To discourage purse snatchers, don't overburden yourself with packages. Have your purchases delivered whenever practical.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card whenever possible.
• Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm with the strap across your body. Keep a wallet in a pocket inside your jacket, not the back pocket of your pants.