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California shoppers reminded to be safe amid increase in smash-and-grab crimes

Posted at 5:53 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 20:53:53-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Authorities across California have seen an uptick in flashmob, smash-and-grabs just as people are getting their holiday shopping started.

They've been brazen and quick to act, leaving thousands of dollars in damage behind, while getting away with luxury items from high-end stores and malls.

Thieves have hit malls in Northern California and in Los Angeles.

The trend, becoming so concerning, Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the issue earlier this week.

"We want real accountability, we want people prosecuted and we want people to feel safe," said the governor during a recent press conference.

San Diego Police tells ABC 10News they increase police presence around shopping centers and malls every year, even before Thanksgiving, to keep people safe and prevent crimes.

So far, there have not been any massive smash-and-grabs in the city.

The AAA of Southern California recommends being aware of your surroundings while shopping, going with a friend if possible and never leaving any valuables in sight.

"It may sound like common sense but you know during this time of year we have a lot on our minds, what gifts we're going to purchase, what ingredients were going to need for holiday meals," says Doug Shupe, a spokesperson for AAA.

Police have arrested a number of people in connection with the smash and grabs around the state, but it's unclear if they're connected.

SDPD says if you see anything suspicious while out shopping or see a crime in progress, alert mall security or all 911 immediately.