Metro Police Canvas Parking Lots To Curb Theft - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Police Canvas Parking Lots To Curb Theft

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In an effort to curb the number of vehicle thefts, police are canvassing parking lots with their message to "Park Smart."

It didn't take long for Sergeant Billy Smith to look around the parking lot at the Nashville West Shopping Center before identifying a car that would be a prime target for thieves.

"Looks like a laptop bag that's in the back seat in plain view," he said while looking in the window. "It (doesn't) take but a minute to knock that window out and they're gone."

The holiday shopping season seems to be starting earlier this year. As a result, Metro Police said they are trying to stay one step ahead.

"Secure your vehicle, secure your valuables don't leave your keys in your car," Sgt. Smith advises a family.

They said many drivers ignore the advice, however, Metro Police's statistics show it bears repeating.

"Almost 50% of the vehicles stolen have the keys in it," Sgt. Smith said. "Here we got a consumer that's come here to shop, leaves her purse on the front seat," he observed while looking into another car.

Along with removing valuables from the car before arriving at the mall or shopping center, Sgt. Smith reminds drivers to park in well-lit areas and be sure not to walk alone.

"I've had somebody break into my car before," shopper Nathan Gerald said. "It was frustrating. Especially when you spend your money on this stuff and then somebody comes and takes it out of your car. I (am not) rich, so I would like to keep all of my stuff."

Police have been canvassing shopping centers to encourage drivers to "Park Smart."

"Trust me if you pull in there, people are in the parking lot watching to see what you do," Sgt. Smith said.

That's why shoppers are being asked to do their part.

"If you create an opportunity there's always someone looking to take advantage of it," shopper Joy Warrick explained.

Police said they won't be far behind.

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