Police warn of Black Friday shopping dangers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With more shoppers taking advantage of overnight sales this year, the extra head start could increase your chances of falling victim to Black Friday crimes.

More than 152 million people are expected to take advantage of Black Friday deals this year, and on Thursday afternoon, some of those shoppers were lined up at the Best Buy in Myrtle Beach.

They say police began checking in with them late Wednesday night, and through the Thanksgiving holiday. But when the doors of stores open up for the big Black Friday sales, that's when Myrtle Beach Police say they'll start their holiday crime crack-down.

"We'll have officers starting in the wee hours of the morning," one officer told WMBF News. "They'll be on bicycles, in marked vehicles, and in plain clothes."

This year though, more shoppers cutting a deal in the dark will open the door for crime outside of many popular stores. It's that threat that will have shoppers like Faye Crigger playing it safe.

"Coming out of the stores with packages and you're coming out of there with three or four laptops, desktops or tables... sometimes putting them in your car, you have to look around," she said.

And her caution is for good reason.

Myrtle Beach Police say more than 50 percent of the calls they receive during the holidays involve parking lot crimes like car break-ins.

"It's really important for the shoppers to know that they need to know where to park their cars, and not leave any valuables readily available - or at least in sight in the vehicles themselves," Lt. Doug Furlong, of the Myrtle Beach Police Department, said.

Police say things like iPods or cell phones can tip off criminals to check out what else you have hiding in your car.

"Secure it in the trunk," he advised. "And if possible, secure it in your trunk before you arrive at your location. People can always see someone in a parking lot moving gifts from one area to another."

If you plan on banking on Black Friday deals, police are also suggesting to shop in numbers, store packages in your trunk, not to carry large amounts of cash and always park in a lighted area.

Horry County Police say its also seen a recent rise in car break-ins in its South precinct.

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