During the busy holiday shopping season, Palm Desert’s Citizens on Patrol volunteers spend their days keeping a watchful eye on the city’s busiest parking lots.
“We do have a lot of shopping areas where there are opportunities for criminals to do their own Christmas shopping, you could say,” said Armando Munoz, spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
According to sheriff’s deputies, Palm Desert had more car burglaries this year than any other valley city they cover: nearly 200 since January. La Quinta came in second with 132.
To halt those numbers, Citizens on Patrol are trying to find easy targets before criminals do.
If you’re out holiday shopping in palm desert you might find something waiting for you when you return to your car.
“If they see something where they feel you could be a victim of a burglary, theft, they leave you a citation,” Munoz said. “It’s just a note, saying hey, be aware.”
What Citizens on Patrol have already found? Open car windows, purses and briefcases on front seats, and packages and shopping bags in the open.
“One of our members went out yesterday and wrote 39 of these in a four-hour period,” said Dennis, one of the Citizens on Patrol.
Sheriff’s deputies say if you want to ward off a Grinch, put all your belongings in the trunk of your car.
Shoppers we met say they’re grateful for the friendly reminder.
“I think it’s a good idea, especially for this time of year,” said Vibian Carias of Cathedral City. “You never know who’s in these parking lots.”
“It helps the public and keeps the thieves away,” said Bill Kaanoy of Hawaii.