Christmas: 'Tis the time for stealing

With Black Friday just days away, many Crossroads residents are gearing up for a day of shopping with friends and family. However, law abiding citizens won't be the only ones looking to check off names on their Christmas lists; law enforcement officials say it will likely be a busy day for criminals.Sgt. Tony Everett, public information officer with the Big Spring Police Department, said thieves will be out and about Friday — as well as the rest of the holiday season — just waiting to fill their stockings with ill-gotten gains.“That’s what they look for,” Everett said. “You’re going around and looking for Christmas presents, and they are walking around looking for things to steal. That’s how they have Christmas. Whether it’s your presents or your money, you can kind of look at it as if the thieves are out there shopping. That’s what they do for a living. They steal.”While these criminals may seem impossible to stop, Everett said there are things you can do to keep you and your vehicle from being a target.“Don’t put your packages and presents in the back seat of your car without covering them up,” he said. “The best way to discourage criminals is to keep your belongings out of sight and out of mind by putting them in the trunk. If you have to put them in the seat though, be sure to cover them up or obscure them in some way.“If you put them in the trunk, it makes it a real pain for the thieves to get to them, and they don’t necessarily want to be out there working on your lock in a situation where they can be seen.”According to Sheriff Stan Parker, one of the most important things shoppers can do this holiday season to remain safe is, well, simply look around.“Be aware of what’s going on around you,” Parker stressed. “If you’ll sit up at the front doors of Wal-Mart or the mall, you’ll see people walking up and down the parking lots just looking in cars. After a minute or two you can tell they’re not looking for their car or headed for their car. What they’re doing is scoping out the inside of your vehicle to see if you have any packages or purses or anything laying loose like that.“We also suggest that people keep their doors locked whenever they go inside a store, and make sure you take your keys with you. If someone gets into your car to steal a radio or wallet and they find the keys, you’re probably going to lose your car.”