Pay attention, plan ahead to thwart holiday thieves

December 2, 2022
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By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

A rash of holiday purse snatchings, robberies and a home invasion have Frisco residents on edge. Should Mansfield residents be worried, too?

“Absolutely crime goes up around the holidays,” said Trey Kerr, community resources officer for the Mansfield Police Department. “People are so complacent about how they handle themselves. They are so distracted around the holidays. They don’t look at their surroundings, they don’t look at where they park.”

Residents need to make their vehicles, valuables and themselves as unattractive as possible to pickpockets and thieves, Kerr said. While shoppers should be careful year-round, the holidays are a window of opportunity for those looking to steal.

So what can people do to protect themselves?

“Make yourself a harder target,” Kerr said. “Pay attention to your surroundings. Walk with a purpose. Put your cell phone in your pocket. Be in the moment. Before you even get out of your car, before you even park, be aware. Try to park near a light pole. Parking behind a building or way out is not a good idea. I know where the cameras are. I want to be somewhere where those cameras are going to get me. Criminals know where those cameras are and if the cameras are going to get them if they break into a car.

“Before you get out of the car, have your hands free,” he said. “Don’t be on your cell phone. Of course you’re going to lock the car. Put items in your trunk as soon as you buy them. If you don’t need your purse, lock it in the trunk. If you need your purse, put it on your shoulder. Have your keys out and hide your stuff in your car. If you live in Mansfield, go by the house and unload it before you keep shopping.”

Most criminals are looking for an easy target.

“They look for an older lady, somebody that is distracted by their kids,” Kerr said. “If you are going to have your purse with you, wrap it around your body. Don’t put it in your basket. It only takes seconds to grab something out of a purse.

“Majority of our thefts are unlocked stuff,” he said. “It’s easier to check doorknobs to see what is unlocked and what he can steal. As soon as he breaks something, he has to leave.”

Keep your eyes open, and not just for yourself and your family.

“When you see something, it takes a minute to process it,” Kerr said. “You think ‘Am I really seeing what I’m seeing?’ If you’re not sure, call it in as suspicious.

“Mansfield has a lot of people that will call in suspicious activity,” Kerr said. “If you see something suspicious, call it in. A lot of stores have loss prevention people. I can’t think of a single store that wouldn’t help you walk to your car if you don’t feel comfortable. If you do feel like something is out of the ordinary, maybe it is.

“You have a lot of good people around Mansfield that look out for each other,” he said. “I think we are blessed in Mansfield. I honestly believe you should do this 365 days a year and take away the opportunity. Don’t put yourself in bad situation.

“Cops don’t make a city safe,” Kerr said. “What makes a city safe is having good people willing to call in when they see something.”

Get the word out!

Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.

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