As we head into the holiday season, more shoppers are heading out to the stores -- and crime is a problem in those places, too.
We did some digging to find out what's happening at our local malls.
What spurred the story was the case of an employee being held up at gunpoint as she left work from Saks Fifth in Beachwood.
We called several local police departments about what’s happening at various shopping centers around the area.
Just about every department says each community sees shoplifting, but those crimes targeted at shoppers vary.
Westlake police say Crocker Park typically sees theft from automobiles and even pick pockets. Police say leaving purses on the backs of chairs, at your feet or unattended can make your pocketbook easy prey.
From Thanksgiving to end of the year there’s often an increase in that type of activity.
Unlocked vehicles are also easy prey. Occasionally criminals will break into a window, but often Westlake Police say “professional criminals” can be particularly problematic.
To deal with additional traffic and increased criminal risk, Westlake Police step up criminal patrols at Crocker Park.
Lyndhurst Police watch over Legacy Village. Authorities there have not seen an uptick in criminal activity in the past few weeks.
Similarly, Fairlawn Police also say shoplifting and petty theft at Summit Mall are typical problems, but there has been no violence directed towards shoppers.
At Chapel Hill mall, Public Information Officer Rick Edwards reports marked security vehicles are patrolling the mall area often. Last holiday season, the mall increased security officers. Many of those officers are off duty Akron Police Officers.
Why do we see more theft during the holidays, police say there are often more targets available and people are going to often have money on them.
The heroin epidemic has also caused a number of people to turn to criminal activity to support their habits, police say.
In order to protect yourself, don’t let someone see you putting your purse, purchases or other valuable items in your vehicle.