Police officers will be working undercover to catch thieves in the act
Albuquerque — Police officers will be posing as customers, planting bait items, watching parking lots and working all hours of the night this holiday season to catch thieves in the act.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Ray Schultz announced a massive crackdown on thieves this holiday season. The crackdown will start Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and run through Christmas.
“This is a warning to all thieves. If you plan to break into a car or rob someone, there is a good chance the items in that car belong to us and the person you are robbing is an Albuquerque police officer,” Chief Schultz said. “The men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department will be working hard to make sure presents get to where they belong and that is under a Christmas tree.”
Recently, APD acquired new technology to bait small items. Those items may be placed in cars in an attempt to catch thieves in the act. APD will also be deploying its fleet of bait vehicles throughout the city.
Officers will also be:
- Patrolling the outside of malls on horses-back, bicycles and on foot.
- Acting as vulnerable shoppers in at attempt to bait thieves.
- Using an Arial platform to watch parking lots from three stories high.
- Patrolling shopping areas with a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft.
- Conducting surveillance from rooftops.
This year, members of the newly formed Organized Crime Unit will be working with local loss prevention officers to catch thieves who work in a network to steal items. In many cases these thieves resell the items they stole at pawn shops, flea markets and online. These networks are usually managed by a single ringleader who delivers shopping lists to low-level thieves.
“This year we will be going after the whole network of thieves,” Chief Schultz said. “It’s not going to be a good shopping season for them.”
• 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. Any thing 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 you 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 NEVER CARRY 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 when ever 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.