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Oklahoma City police warn shoppers to be aware during holidays

People soon will flock to malls for the holiday shopping, and that means even more targets for criminals looking for prey, Oklahoma City police say.
by Juliana Keeping Published: October 29, 2012
/articleid/3723530/1/pictures/1869324">Photo - Shoppers in the mall parking lot at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.  Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
Shoppers in the mall parking lot at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman

The statement did not include details, claiming that would compromise safety efforts.

Penn Square also sent a written statement attributed to Penn Square general manager Jeff Dozier. It states the mall's security tools include a security tower, 24-hour patrol and security personnel patrolling inside and outside the mall. There also is a police presence on the property.

The mall frequently coordinates activities with the police department, according to the statement.

The statement didn't address a question about whether there had been improvements to safety efforts in the parking garage, thought it states the security program is continually evaluated.

A manager at Crossroads Mall, 7000 Crossroads Blvd., responded to several message by referring calls to a marketing person, who could not be reached for comment.

Paying attention

Police officers assigned to patrol areas around malls will be paying close attention in the coming months, Knight said.

Shoppers also can take steps to prevent crime — measures such as shopping with a partner, locking valuables out of sight in the trunk, and not loading merchandise in the car and returning to the mall.

Scattered, distracted shoppers — picture a customer absent-mindedly chatting on a phone while searching for a forgotten parking space — make themselves a target. Knight said shoppers should make a mental note of that parking spot on the way in.

“Don't become so overburdened with packages that you have to sit them down, fumble for keys. Make sure your keys are in your hand and you know where you're going,” Knight said.

It can't hurt to ask a store or mall security if they will walk you to your car, he said. And if something or someone feels threatening or strange, call 911.

by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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