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SALT LAKE CITY — With Christmas now less than a month away, police were reminding anyone headed downtown in the coming weeks for holiday shopping, games and concerts to take extra care to hide and securely stow valuables in their unattended vehicles.
"Oftentimes, we can get excited and maybe forget to make sure we're taking those precautions," said Sgt. Mark Wian with the Salt Lake City Police Department. "It's that opportunity to do a smash-and-grab, break a window, be able to check and see if the vehicle is unlocked and take advantage of that."
Wian did his own "prowling" Monday evening near 300 West and North Temple as thousands packed into nearby Vivint Arena to watch the Utah Jazz play.
In just a few short minutes, Wian found no shortage of cars where keys, laptops, backpacks, designer sunglasses and shopping bags were in plain sight.
"It's a matter of those crimes of opportunity, where someone may just be walking by and see something that's just perking their interest," he said.
Wian said it doesn't have to be a basketball game — it could be parking for a concert, Christmas lights or simple holiday shopping where a burglar is waiting to strike.
He encouraged people to make sure their valuables are locked in trunks or well-hidden, to ensure their cars are locked, and to — whenever possible — park in well-lit or secured parking areas.
"You want to do things that will not make you as big of a target as you otherwise would be," Wian said.