Lawton police give valuable advice for holidays

Lawton shopper guards her purse
Lawton shopper guards her purse

Lawton_We usually have a one track mind when it comes to Thanksgiving shopping - turkey and all the fixins.  But, while you think about cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, crooks are thinking about when to swipe your purse.  The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is the busiest shopping day of the year.  And, with all those sales, thieves are waiting to take advantage.

Lawton Police have some good advice for keeping yourself safe this holiday.  7News has discovered that no matter how many times people are told to carry their purse on them, some just don't listen.  But, there are a few streetwise shoppers out there who are prepared for thieves.

Maragarte Hess was spied clutching onto her purse the entire time she shopped.  She says it's not just in the store where she's suspicious.  She notices people in the parking lot unloading their holiday shopping - and the purse is the last item loaded up.  "We have had so much crime lately, it doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in," she says.  "It's everywhere.  My husband lost his checkbook and that was enough."

Community Oriented Police Officer Steven Martin says crooks will be out among the shoppers this week and police don't want to see you leaving your purse in your shopping cart.  "The number one thing is watch your personal items. Keep your purse under your arms so someone doesn't take it," says Martin.

As 7News, accompanied by Master Officer Martin strolled through the store, he and his fellow officer gave shoppers some suggestions.  Shopper Billie Edwards says she has had someone try and take her purse from her while it's on her shoulder.  So, she keeps her purse on her at all times and holds it.  "It's easier that way," she says.

These crimes of opportunity don't just happen to women either.  Men are just as distracted when shopping - particularly if they're on a cell phone.  Martin says the idea is to keep your personal items out of sight and out of mind.

Ross Manager Annette Lukasic says all stores struggle with more theft during the holidays.  She says you should consider not bringing a purse.  "That's the best thing, better to just keep it in your pocket," she says.  C.O.P. Officers will be stopping by stores throughout the holiday shopping season.  If you would like for them to stop by your store and offer good, friendly advice, give them a call at 580-581-3270.  Just ask for a C.O.P. Officer.