Hard target - KLFY News 10

Hard target

Updated:

An increase in armed robberies has police warning citizens to stay alert during the holiday season.

In the city of Lafayette, there have been eight armed robberies in the past four weeks; double the number during the same time frame in 2012. Opelousas Police Sergeant Jody White said in his city, there has not been a huge influx of armed robberies, as people migrate to bigger cities to shop. However, he explained there are ways to avoid being an easy target. He said, first if a citizen is approached with a lethal weapon, "You need to just go ahead and give them whatever they are asking for."

To avoid having someone suspicious get that close, he suggested being aware of surroundings and having a non-lethal weapon handy.

"If they are too close to you, to try to reach in your purse and reach for mace would also entice them to want to make a physical move. However, if you already have mace, I would say use it to back that person away from you."

Many women tend to place purses inside buggies, or if they leave them in the car, the trunk is the prime hiding spot. White said, this is only alerting criminals.
 
"A potential criminal watching this, will know once you come out of the store you're going to go back to the trunk to get your purse or any other potential personal items."

White described another scenario of a shopper being targeted while still inside a store.

"Counting the money at the register," White began. "The person has a lot of cash in their hand and they have no idea someone is watching and they are being selected as a possible victim. Then, once they leave the store, they aren't paying attention to a person following them and they never see it coming."

In this situation, a criminal might not even need a weapon. White said thieves become more desperate during the holiday season and citizens need to take precaution. He gave more tips to become a hard target for thieves.

Carry keys in hand.

Shop during the day if possible, or in pairs at night.

For women, always carry a purse on the shoulder and never in a basket.

Park close to stores at night or use a flashlight if parking further away.

Keep eye contact with suspicious characters.

Get as much detail as possible of a suspect, if you do become a victim of a robbery.

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