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Black Friday crimestoppers: Slow down and keep yourself safe this shopping weekend

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A pedestrian carries shopping bags as he walks through Union Square on Feb. 22, 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index reached the highest figure in three years as it rose to 70.4 percent for February, up from 64.8 percent in January.

Police around Southern California are urging you to slow down and use some common sense as you madly search for the best deals this holiday weekend.

“We take away the opportunity, we take away the chances of becoming a victim,” said LAPD Cpt. Steve Carmona.

It’s good advice not just for shoppers avoiding snooping car burglars or thieves, but also for distracted pedestrians and drivers. 

For example, 11 drivers and pedestrians in the San Fernando Valley died last December in traffic accidents.

“And we know, with Black Friday, there are going to be many pedestrians, many shoppers walking to the shopping malls and we want them to be safe,” said LAPD Det. William Bustos.

This weekend doesn’t just mark the start of the holiday shopping season.  It’s also the start the car burglary season.

No one understands that better than San Fernando Valley resident Rhonda Mason. Her Tahoe was stolen about a month ago from a restaurant parking lot on Roscoe Blvd. as she and her daughter ate inside.

The hook? Shopping bags.

“Yeah there were shopping bags in the back of the car because we had just gone shopping,” Mason said. “So don’t put your shopping bags in the car and leave your car.”

Police are harping the ole “ Lock it, Hide it, Keep it” message to shopper this year but Cpt. Carmona adds one other piece of advice to knock them thieves off their game.

He says when returning to your car after with shopping bags after buying stuff from the store, move your car.

“It’s always a good idea to park your car somewhere else because believe it or not, people are watching you,” he said. “They’re watching your moves and they’re waiting for you to put back in your car.”

Avoid carrying cash while you shop for gifts. Don’t throw away ATM receipts if you do pull out cash.

LAPD will have what they call “mobile substations” set up in some of the city’s busiest malls. They’ll serve as a mobile command post for reporting and investigating thefts.

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