SAN ANTONIO — Property crime like theft from cars or porch piracy are areas of concern for law enforcement as the holiday shopping season ramps up, so the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is starting new inter-agency program to keep the crooks at bay.
“We’re going to ask everybody to be extra vigilant, be aware of your surroundings as you’re exiting a store, don’t spend too much time in your car.” Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a press conference announcing the new “Operation Holiday Safety” program.
Salazar wants shoppers to take extra care this holiday season. He shared tips about leaving or returning to cars during shopping trips and ways to outwit porch pirates.
For instance: he said to avoid leaving anything valuable in a car where a potential thief could see it, don't leave firearms in cars and don't linger in your car for too long after leaving the store.
“If you’re sitting in a car in a parking lot, in my opinion, you’re a sitting duck,” he said.
“Operation Holiday Safety” will involve some proactive efforts to prevent these types of property crimes including increased patrols in neighborhoods to watch for porch pirates and a series of parking lot stings which would involve leaving dummy cars with bags or goods visible and seeing who tries to steal from them.
“Agencies throughout the county will be working together to make sure that as our holiday shoppers are out and about doing what they need to be doing to enjoy the holiday season,” Salazar said. “We’re going to be there to keep them safe.”
Law enforcement agencies from all over Bexar County will be participating in the effort.
“This is a collaborative effort that we have here going, with all the different agencies throughout the city working together in unison to solve the same issues that each one of us are seeing is imperative” said Converse Police Chief Bobby Lane “It’s amazing that we’re actually doing that.”
Lane said that his department has always had a good cooperative relationship with the Sheriff’s Office, but never to this extent.
“Instead of working our own cities, just by themselves, now we’re working the whole county which is something,” he said.
As excited as Salazar is for the new program, he wanted to stress that it doesn’t mean people should let their guard down.
“I mean we want to increase the feeling of safety that people have,” he said. “Everybody needs to be more vigilant on their own because the truth is, we can’t have a cop everywhere at all times, as much as we wish.”