Westerville police launch crime prevention blitz after uptick in thefts

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Poilce in Westerville launched a new crime prevention strategy just before Black Friday in hopes of giving the Grinch the holiday hand.

"Just so people could really enjoy Christmas and not be concerned about losing items. Especially items people store in their cars to give to their kids or significant other for Christmas," said Assistant Chief Anthony Wilson.

The holiday blitz includes hard-to-miss signs with flashing script placed at the city's busiest intersections reminding shoppers to lock their cars. Police said the goal is to remind as many people as possible that 'tis the season for thievin.'

"People actually remember that so you'll go into malls, go into stores, we were doing shop with a cop, and we heard people saying 'tis the season for thieving I've got to remember to lock my car door," said Wilson.

Despite law enforcement's proactive efforts to curb holiday crime, the city of Westerville is still experiencing a slight increase in holiday crime.

Westerville police said between mid-November to mid-December in 2016, officers investigated 16 reports of thefts from motor vehicles. This year, that number climbed to 22. However, law enforcement added it's impossible to know how many crime they've managed to prevent.

Police are pushing to end the year on a good note.

Last year, Westerville Police investigated a total of 212 reports of thefts from vehicles. This year to date, that number is down to 176 thefts, a nearly 17 percent drop.

Police want to keep it that way so they're urging shoppers to conceal packages, lock their vehicles and report anyone lurking in retail parking lots who looks out of place.

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