The Mankato Department of Public Safety has launched its annual “Operation Grinch” – a program designed to help reduce retail theft and burglaries.

Commander Dan Schisel said shoppers are encouraged to take steps to avoid becoming a victim, by not leaving purchases in their cars in plain sight. “They bring them out and they may leave them visible in their cars and that’s what we don’t recommend. We encourage you to put the item out of sight,” he explained, “And that means by putting it in a trunk, locking it securely.”

“Just about 90 percent of these thefts will occur from an unlocked vehicle and a high percentage will occur from a home that’s not locked,” he added.

Other recommendations:

  • Be focused and alert to surroundings.
  • Shop during daylight hours. If shopping at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • It’s important to not leave purses unattended in shopping carts.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Keep credit cards secure and remember to return them to wallet safely after the transaction. Keep a copy of credit card numbers so it’s convenient to report any missing cards immediately.
  • Place shopping packages out of sight in vehicle’s trunk and lock the doors. If going back to a store after placing items in vehicle, move vehicle to a new parking place.

See something? Say something. Report anything suspicious by calling 911.