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How MPD says you can stay safe during busy holiday shopping season

Police offer advice for shoppers and business owners ahead of holiday shopping season, which typically causes increase in property crimes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police Tuesday afternoon confirmed two property crimes within minutes of each other Sunday night are connected. It comes as law enforcement prepares to ramp up their enforcement for the holiday season.

The two crimes were reported within a half an hour of each other Sunday; the first, shortly after 9 p.m. at the Walmart in Whitehaven on 5255 Elvis Presley Boulevard; the second, a smash and grab at Valid Kixx shoe store on 6569 Winchester Road.

The crimes are bringing the issue of business and shopper safety into greater focus, especially since Memphis Police said shoplifting and other property crimes typically increase during the holidays.

"There is an increased reason to be more alert and more aware of your surroundings," Col. Chris Moffatt of Memphis Police said.

MPD is again urging vigilance before shoppers fill shopping carts and parking lots starting Black Friday.

"We get a little busier during the holiday season," Col. Moffatt said. "A lot of folks are shopping. They are distracted trying to run all their errands. They leave packages in their cars. They aren't aware of our surroundings, so we see an increase in activity."

That typical increase in criminal activity played out Sunday night ahead of the holidays, when MPD said nearly two dozen people, some of them armed, broke a window and stole electronics and other merchandise from the Walmart in Whitehaven. 

Mobile and mounted cameras could be seen Tuesday afternoon at the store.

"Be aware, have your employees report any suspicious activity, work with your police partners. It's a lot of common sense approaches," Col. Moffatt said.

MPD and other law enforcement works together for the holidays, spreading out manpower and security cameras in busier parking lots as crime deterrents.

"We bring everything out. We have our trailer cameras, our Blue Crush Cameras. We have our operations center that will come out. Operation Jingle Bells with the county," Col. Moffatt said.

As for shopper safety, police remind everyone to keep your eyes off your phone to and from your car.

"It's not just kids, it's everyone not aware of their surroundings, walking to and from their car, and things like that, um. Use common sense, travel in a group, don't leave any guns in cars. That's a huge problem for us," Col. Moffatt said.

MPD said criminals are also exploiting defects in manufacturing in some car models. They suggest if you're shopping in a mall for hours to protect your vehicles and use a steering wheel lock.

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