“All it takes is someone smashing the window or leaving your keys in the car, making it possible to snatch those things within a second,” Capt. Tommy Champion said.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Police Department said it will be stepping up patrols amid the holiday season, as it does every year in an effort to prevent a time of cheer from going sour.
“The Buffalo Police Department absolutely recommends taking precautions while out shopping and going about the holiday festivities,” Community Policing Captain Tommy Champion said.
Speaking to reporters Friday in the Kohls, Big Lots shopping plaza off Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo, Captain Champion walked through a laundry list of safe shopping tips to use when possible:
- Try to park close to businesses, in well-lit areas, where your car can be seen and isn’t hidden behind any obstructions;
- Secure gifts or presents that are purchased out of sight from the general public, in a covered trunk or under a trunk cover.
“Criminals are usually opportunists and if they see those things, they know people are carrying around large amounts of money or they know there are expensive things inside of vehicles they’re going to take advantage of that,” Captain Champion said.
While other reminders like locking your vehicle and not leaving your keys or fob inside are shared year-round, according to Captain Champion during the holiday season the Buffalo Police Department usually sees an uptick in car thefts.
Last year 1,280 cars were stolen in the City of Buffalo.
“Patrol officers from the districts will actually go out … looking for those things specifically … they will even give out tickets when they notice vehicles that are being left with keys inside the ignition,” Captain Champion said.
Fliers reminding people to avoid the aforementioned errors that could leave them vulnerable to auto theft are being distributed to businesses. 2 On Your Side followed along as officers visited three businesses Friday in North Buffalo.
An employee at the Little Caesars of Delaware Avenue south of Hertel was appreciative of the officers.
“Well thank you for thinking about us,” she said.
The manager of a nearby Verizon store shared similar sentiments.
“We see about 200 people a day so it will spread the word pretty quick,” he said.
Other Buffalo Police Districts have distributed the same flier to businesses located at Kensington and Eggert, Main and Delevan, Bailey and Kensington, and Jefferson and William.
When asked where the additional patrols will focus their efforts this holiday season Captain Champion said, “we’re going to make sure we keep our guys out and doing directed patrols where there is need.”
Their goal will be to ensure a happy, safe and healthy holiday for city residents.