Shoppers: SMPD is providing safety tips for residents shopping in person and online. Maggie Marks

With the holiday season in full swing, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) is making its annual recommendations for safe, seasonal shopping but with some updates to reflect the crime trends of our current time.

Captain Candice Cobarrubias said additional SMPD resources have been in place since Nov. 25 and will run through Jan. 1 as part of the holiday deployment.

“During the deployment period we will see more officers in our shopping districts including Main Street, Downtown, Montana Ave. and surrounding residential areas. The plan includes additional personnel seven days a week allowing our staff to remain highly visible, with our officers on foot, bicycles and horseback.”

She said the first few days of deployment showed a reduction in some crimes.

“Since the start of this deployment (in the last 10 days), we have experienced a slight decrease in Part I Crime in the Downtown area (by about six incidents), which includes slightly fewer Robberies, Aggravated Assaults, and Shoplifts compared to the 10 days prior. In terms of arrests, there was a notable increase – 17 arrests (eight felony; eight misdemeanor) compared to eight arrests (seven felony; one misdemeanor). Additionally, there was an increase in the number of Calls for Service (by 21 calls) during the same timeframe. Notably, Police-Initiated calls increased, while Citizen-initiated calls decreased.”

For those shopping in-person, it’s important to protect your purchases from opportunistic thieves. Locking cars and activating car alarms are an easy start, but parking in well lit areas also helps. If you’re storing packages in the vehicle, put them in the trunk instead of the back seat. Depending on where you’re shopping, consider using a concierge service to help carry packages back to your vehicle at the end of your trip instead of making multiple trips yourself. Using a slim wallet and paying with credit cards instead of cash also limits the opportunities for theft.

SMPD is also providing information on staying safe at home as package theft grew in the pandemic era and is expected to persist this holiday season.

SMPD said there are proactive measures residents can take that will help ensure packages arrive safely and other steps to guarantee they don’t get stolen after delivery.

Prior to arrival, shoppers can request a tracking number for packages. This option is often offered at no charge and in addition to tracking a package en-route, you’ll receive a delivery notification to help you know when your package has arrived. In a similar vein, requesting a signature delivery option will provide an additional layer of security and requesting a specific drop time when you’re home can eliminate opportunities for theft.

If you can’t be home when packages are delivered, SMPD said you can send the delivery to your workplace, send it to a relative or neighbor who can be home, use an Amazon locker, or arrange to have the packages held at the shipping service or retail store where you ordered them for pickup.

SMPD said as always, if you see something suspicious or need help from the Santa Monica Police Department, please call 9-1-1 for emergencies or (310) 458-8491 for non-emergencies. If you wish to speak with your Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) or Crime Prevention Coordinator (CPC), please contact our Community Affairs Unit at community.affairs@santamonica.gov or 310-458-8474.

editor@smdp.com

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...