Fewer car prowls in Yakima during holiday months

Fewer car prowls in Yakima during holiday months

YAKIMA, Wash.-- Parking lots have been packed all weekend as people get in their last-minute shopping. And, you may be filling up your own sleigh; leaving behind purchases in the car while you dash in for more. Despite that, KIMA found the number of cars prowled around this time are actually down.

Antonio Ramirez was out shopping for last minute gifts Monday afternoon. He knows to keep his things safe in his car, so he puts them where nobody can see.

"It's not visible and it's safer in the trunk," shopper Antonio Ramirez said. 

As shoppers flood parking lots, anyone's belongings could be at risk.

"There are those that are out there, the criminal element that are looking to steal from those people that are legitimately out there that work hard and earn their money and legitimately buy their christmas gifts," YPD Captain Rod Light said.

KIMA pulled the numbers and found there was a spike in car prowls between November and December in 2011, but they've been down since.

Since November this year, there have been almost 100 reported prowls. In the same time frame last year, there were 85. Both years down from 178 in 2011.

KIMA asked Light, "what do you credit that decrease to?"
"Well you know, hopefully the citizens are taking heed to that and hearing in the past what's happened and really taking steps to protect their items," he responded.

Police have also noticed an increase in stores and malls installing security cameras and hiring security for parking lots. Kevon Jones has noticed the same thing.

"Do you think security really prevents it from happening at stores?" KIMA asked Jones.
"sometimes," he said. "Yeah, if they watch it more, if they pay attention."

Police said always either go home to drop off bags or put them somewhere like a trunk where they're not visible.

"They run to the car and throw them in the back seat and head back into the store," Light said. "That's a catastrophic mistake to make."

It's a mistake more people have become aware of. Police admit they don't have all the time and manpower to patrol parking lots during this time. They are catching more people in the act of stealing, though.