TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Budgets have gotten pretty tight during the holiday season.
For many the extra pressure of getting their loved ones, a gift can lead to criminal activity which can end up costing retailers millions of dollars during the holidays.
“We do see a lot during the major holidays an uptick in the shoplifting,” said Andy Erbaugh with the Tyler Police Department. “We work them all year, but we do have a lot of people taking advantage of other people during this time of the year.”
Erbaugh added that the holiday season is not just a financial difficulty, but also a crime of opportunity.
“Tyler’s population is a little over 100,000 people, but during those peaking shopping times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it swells, sometimes upwards of 200,000-250,000 people or more in Tyler,” said Erbaugh. “…Thieves are criminals of opportunity and they give those opportunities and the more people there are, the more opportunity there is to commit theft.”
Not only is shoplifting a concern, but an uptick in cases of wallets, purses, and cellphones have also been reported stolen.
“We are seeing an uptick in purses and wallets being stolen from shopping cats, so I know how easy it is,” Erbaugh explained. “I put my shopping list on my phone and leave it in my cart and go get something and someone can just go take that phone right out from you.”
Erbaugh recommended that the best thing to protect yourself from theft while shopping.
“We just want the public to take that second and think about the securing of your wallets, your phone, and your purses and keep them on you during the Holiday season! Because there are definitely people out there who’d like to take advantage of that,” said Erbaugh.
The uptick in thefts has not just been happening in Tyler. Five-finger discounts have been happening all across East Texas.
On Wednesday, the Mount Pleasant Police Department was looking for two suspects after they shoplifted a Lowes on Black Friday.
If you see something, say something. Your local law enforcement encourages you to call Crime Stoppers. Not just during the holidays, but year-round.