Bait items and vehicles will be out in unprecedented numbers
Albuquerque — uniformed and undercover police will be out in full force this holiday season. Baited vehicles and items will be prevalent throughout the city to deter holiday thefts.
On Wednesday, Police Chief Ray Schultz announced a massive operation to prevent theft and arrest thieves this holiday season. The city-wide operation will start Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and run through Christmas.
“This holiday season APD will be working closely with merchants citywide to ensure a safe shopping environment” Chief Schultz said. “APD will be utilizing bait vehicles and bait items across the city in attempts to catch criminals in the act.”
The bait item initiative launched last December as an effort to address property crimes, specifically auto burglaries in the city. The operation has taken on new life as the bait car fleet has increased, the number of bait items has doubled and the program has expanded to a daily 24-hour operation with citywide coverage and real time crime mapping. There will be more bait items and vehicles out in the City this holiday season than ever before.
Officers will also be:
- Conducting concentrated patrols around malls and shopping outlets
- Acting as vulnerable shoppers in an attempt to bait thieves and catch shoplifters in the act.
- Using an Aerial platform to watch parking lots from three stories high.
- Patrolling shopping areas with a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft.
- Conducting surveillance from rooftops and patrolling on bicycles and horseback
This year the Organized Crime Unit will be working with local loss prevention officers to catch thieves who work in a network to steal items.
Police also reminded the community not to invite thieves by keeping shopping bags, purses, electronic devices and other valuables out of sight in their unattended vehicles. Shoppers are also reminded to properly secure their vehicles. Nearly 40% of auto burglaries do not involve forced entry.
Along with protecting your valuables, the Albuquerque Police Department reminds the community to “Look before You Lock”. The campaign is aimed to help busy parents and caretakers remember to look in the passenger and back seats of their vehicles before they lock their car doors. Never leave children unattended, especially in vehicles. Make a habit of checking your rear and passenger seats every time you exit your car. As we approach the winter months, the temperatures drop but children are still at risk for serious injury or death when they are left in vehicles unattended in any weather conditions.
• Always be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts
• Give some thought to what is considered “normal behavior” in a given environment. (Ex. People do not typically stand around in parking lots.) If you notice a suspicious person or activity in a parking lot, return to the store, ask for an escort and/or notify security or store personnel.
• Always be aware of other people around you and make note of their behavior
• Walk with authority, purpose and awareness
• Park your vehicle as close to an entrance as possible or park in well lit, active locations
• Lock all personal items in the trunk or away from view – roll up windows, take the keys and lock the doors
• Keep all items inside your vehicle away from view. Anything in full view could potentially be a target of opportunity.
• Have your keys ready when approaching your vehicle and limit the number of items in your hands
• Get in your vehicle as soon as possible, lock the doors immediately and then get settled. (Note: Continue to be aware of persons in your area and keep your doors locked until you reach your next destination.)
• Remove all visible targets that might make you a victim of a crime - WOMEN SHOULD AVOID CARRYING A PURSE IN PUBLIC. Rather, carry only those items necessary for a particular trip. (Ex. Drivers license, medical card, some form of payment, like a debit card and a little bit of money.) Carry these items concealed from view.
• If you choose to carry a defensive device like pepper spray – have proper training.
SECURING YOUR RESIDENCE PRIOR TO HOLIDAY TRAVEL
• Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your residence and report suspicious activity.
• If possible, have a trusted friend or family member stay at your home.
• Install automatic timers on lights, televisions and radios
• Do not have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. This information could fall into the wrong hands. Ask the trusted neighbor to collect them each day.
• If you have a rollout trash dumpster, have a neighbor place it in the street on pick up day and return it that evening.
• Ask a neighbor to park a vehicle in the driveway whenever possible
• Be extra cautious about locking all doors and windows. All primary window locks should be operational and secondary locks should be installed.
• Make sure trees and shrubs are trimmed to allow for adequate visibility of your home
• Make arrangements to have exterior lights on each night.
• Each entrance should have solid core or metal doors and deadbolt locks.
• Let neighbors, family and friends know when you plan to return from a trip.
•**Ask your local area command substation to place a “periodic watch” on your home during the days you will be gone. This is a free service offered to all community residents and field officers receive a video briefing before every shift that outlines all the homes that have requested a periodic watch.