Houston Police Department
HPD, GHLPA Retail Partners Remind Shoppers to Watch Those Purses, Minimize Distractions

December 8, 2011 - Houston police commanders and officers today (Dec. 8) joined six of the largest retailers in the city for phase three of the "Safe Shopping Starts with YOU" holiday safety campaign at the Randalls at 9660 Westheimer.

Officers focused on two areas: how to prevent purse thefts while shoppers load items into vehicles and how to avoid such thefts while distracted at gas pumps. To highlight the message, officers staged the thefts in re-enactments in the parking lot and at the gas pumps.

Photos from the event are attached to this news release. The first photo is HPD Assistant Chief John Trevino, flanked by HPD personnel and retailers, announcing the focus of today's campaign. A second photo is of a female shopper distracted as she is at the gas pumps and the third photo is of a male posing as a thief, stealing the woman's purse (in just three seconds) from her vehicle as she pumps gas.

In its third year, the "Safe Shopping Starts with YOU" campaign is coordinated by HPD and retailers comprising the Greater Houston Loss Prevention Alliance (GHLPA) - Randalls, Walmart, H-E-B, Fiesta, Kroger and Target. Phase one of the campaign launched on November 29 focused on preventing burglaries of motor vehicles in shopping center parking lots. Phase two was held on Tuesday (Dec. 6) and focused on preventing purse thefts from shopping carts while inside the store.

Uniformed HPD officers today also distributed theft reduction report cards on shoppers' windshields giving them a passing or failing grade as to whether they secured their vehicles or hid their valuables.

HPD urges shoppers to always be aware of your surroundings, minimize use of cellphones while shopping and pumping gas, and secure your purses and wallets. Safe Shopping Starts with YOU.

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For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.