Question: By the numbers, do car break-ins spike this time of year around here?

Answer: “We generally do see a lot more thefts during the holidays. I don’t know if you would call it a spike, but there is an increase. It’s usually auto burglaries, car burglaries or little things like purse thefts, phone thefts or wallets around stores and shopping centers. We definitely at least see an increase this time of year.”

Q: Are there any spots around the area that are hotspots for shopping thefts?

A: “Obviously here in Ardmore, the busier the shopping center is, like around the Ardmore mall, Ardmore Commons and Walmart — the three that really come to mind when I hear about these kind of things — thieves tend to target these areas because of the fact that there’s a lot going on. They blend in well because of their surroundings, and there’s a lot more opportunity for people to get distracted because of the hustle and bustle, if you will. And people just get distracted, whether it’s leaving their items in their cars unlocked, or leaving them in the open and visible, or just as simple as leaving your purse in the basket while you step away to look at things on the shelves. These are some of the things that thieves are looking for. 

You would think it’s the opposite, but the busier the areas are, that’s where they target.”

Q: What steps can citizens take to ensure the safety of their items and themselves?

A: “We tell people this every year, and it seems like it can be redundant sometimes, but it’s easy to do when you’ve got things on your mind and you’re distracted. Obviously, if you have any valuables, anything valuable a thief would take...make sure those are locked in the trunk or covered up to where they can’t be seen from the outside, and lock your cars.

As far as personal safety, you want to try to park in lighted areas that are well lit in the shopping center. With the purses and wallets, make sure they’re in your pocket and not left on a counter. A lot of people get things stolen that way, especially with cell phones and wallets. They’ll get their wallet and cell phone out to pay. And the clerks are so busy a lot of the times that they don’t pay much attention — next thing you know, it’s missing.

Keep your kids close, but the main thing is just to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t get so distracted by whatever may be going on that you’re not paying attention to who’s around you. And it’s always better to go shopping in groups.”