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Police Offer Shopping Safety Tips

Northwest Arkansas stores are gearing up for a busy shopping weekend now that roads are clearing up, and police want shoppers to keep more than gifts in mind during the holiday season.
Fayetteville, AR - Northwest Arkansas stores are gearing up for a busy shopping weekend now that roads are clearing up, and police want shoppers to keep more than gifts in mind during the holiday season.

"We always want them to have an enjoyable time wherever they're shopping at," says Sergeant Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police. "However we want them to be smart, and if you're going to be away from your car for any period of time it's always a good idea to lock your vehicle."

The tips are simple, and you've heard them before, any time you leave your car, grab your bags or any other valuables and make sure they're hidden out of sight.

"Someone may think it's worth that risk to smash your window out," Stout says. "Now, not only are you out of your property but you also have a broken window that you may have to replace as well."

"Even though it seems like common sense, a quick walk between parking spots proves Stout's point.

"If I'm a bad guy, I'm just looking through here," he says. "This one here, it's locked, but you do have some bags in the back that are with in plain view... looks like somebody's purse, maybe a book bag."

Although many think of Northwest Arkansas as a nice, quiet community, it isn't immune from crimes of opportunity.

"For the month of November we had 44 vehicle break ins, and out of those 44, 35 vehicles were unlocked," Stout says. "Unfortunately our property crime is much higher than what we would like to see."

Stout also wants people to report strange activity immediately.

"Far too often whenever we're checking a neighborhood after there have been a rash of break ins, people will tell us that they saw someone or a vehicle suspicious or something like that, but didn't think to call us at the time," he says. "It's important for us to have that information on the front end, because it makes it so much easier on our investigation."
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