Bottom line: Take time to protect, conceal your valuables when shopping
ANCHORAGE – The holiday season can get hectic, and Dimond Center security officers have seen shoppers get a little spacey.
“It gets kind of crazy if they have kids around, so they forget purses and everything like that,” said security officer Guiliano Belluomini. “So what I do is take it to the lost and found and make sure they pick it up.”
There are 20 security guards on staff who patrol the mall to keep shoppers safe. It’s also the shopper’s job to take a proactive approach as well, they said.
“Be aware of your surroundings,” said Lt. Richard Busk. “You can always stay with the policy of lock, remove, conceal. Lock all your valuables. Lock your vehicle even if you’re only away for a few minutes. Move any sensitive items. If you can’t do that, cover them up. Out of sight, out of mind.”
It’s good advice most people follow.
“I keep them out of sight, make sure they’re in the trunk or covered,” said Kandy Broderick. “Make sure the car is locked, I probably, double, triple check to make sure my car is locked.”
The mall also has two security guards who cruise through the parking lots.
“We look for people walking through the lot suspiciously, pulling on handles, checking doors,” said Sgt. Jesse Gober.
When people get busy they can leave items behind, he said.
“There was a woman just the other day I was telling not to leave her purse in her car,” Gober said. “Anything you leave in your car, especially out in the open, makes you a target. Especially the smaller items. It’s harder to carry off a TV. But a purse, small items, a walkman, they go really easily into a pocket and no one thinks twice about watching you walk away with them.”
They also patrol the parking lot on foot. It doesn’t take them long to find things that shouldn’t be there.
“There’s a duffle bag in the center,” Gober pointed out. “Any kind of bag you leave in the car automatically adds a bonus to a thief, because now you’ve got a concealment device. No one thinks anything about a guy walking around with a bag.”
That same car also had stereo equipment and news shoes in the back window.
“It’s all loose; it’s easy to grab,” Gober said. “You could shove those stereos into the duffle bag and walk away. No one would be the wiser.”