News 9 Investigates Safety Concerns At Oklahoma City Malls

Tuesday, November 22nd 2011, 5:36 pm
By: News 9

It's the most wonderful time of the year. But holiday shopping isn't so wonderful if you're a victim of a crime.

We poured through months of crime statistics, including the 2010 shopping season, from three metro malls: Quail Springs, Penn Square and North Park, to see which is the safest and what crimes are happening there.

"Malls have literally millions of patrons come through the doors," Oklahoma City Police MSgt. Gary Knight said. "When you look at those numbers versus the number of violent crimes, which is almost none, you discover malls are exceedingly safe places."

While the majority of crimes reported were shoplifting, we did find several robberies and even more car break-ins. And all too often, shoppers inadvertently put themselves at risk.

"They'll buy some items, take them out, put them in their car, turn around go right back in, leaving the packages sitting in plain sight where a thief can just walk up, smash the windows and take them," MSgt. Knight said.

With a hidden camera, we walked through several metro mall parking lots. A quick peek into cars and we saw many items inside that may entice a thief to break in. Police suggest locking packages away in the trunk where they're out of sight.

When it comes to crimes against people, women tend to be easy targets.

"They'll have a purse out and they're fumbling inside of it. Their keys are somewhere in the bottom," MSgt. Knight said. "They're walking and paying attention to what's in the bottom of the purse more than what's around them."

Police said women need to hold their purses on the side closer to the parked cars, so someone can't drive by and snatch it.

But possibly your best weapon against crime is a friend.

"There's strength in numbers," MSgt. Knight said. "If you've got someone who can go shopping with you that certainly puts you in a less vulnerable position."