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Greenville police amp up patrols for last-minute shopping

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Greenville police are amping up patrols this weekend to keep you safe as you finish up your Christmas shopping; but when it comes to protecting yourself, police say there are things you're likely doing that make you an easy target.    

Police records show there have been about a dozen armed robberies in Greenville in the past two weeks – some of them in parking lots of shopping centers.

So as big crowds prepare to hit the stores this holiday weekend, Greenville police are out in full force. Patrol officer Scott George says the police department has added 8 to 10 extra officers each day whose sole job is to patrol busy shopping areas around town. They will be walking around, riding in marked and unmarked cars, and riding bikes.  

George says that's where thieves know people are carrying cash and expensive presents, and are often distracted by kids or their cell phones. 

“It only takes moments for me as a bad guy to come up to somebody from behind, threaten them with a weapon, take what they have and I’m gone,” he says. “It takes five seconds.”

George elaborates, “I see so many people walking out of these stores and they're on their cell phones or iPads and not paying attention to what's going on around them and before you know it, that person is right up on you."

George says thieves see older women as the easiest targets. To protect yourself, he suggests paying attention to your surroundings, walking in well-lit areas in groups, having your keys ready, and staying off your cell phone when walking to your car.

Of course, if you see something, say something and call police.

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