WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- It's time to start your holiday shopping, but your purchases or the stores you visit could be targets for criminals.
To prevent smash-and-grab robberies or violence of any kind, the city of West Hollywood is sharing holiday safety tips:
Lock your car and hide valuables in your trunk. Light up your house, add motion sensor lights. Hang onto your purse or backpack. Don't leave them on your chair while dining or in a shopping cart. Keep your wallet and cell phone in your front pocket and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
"We have been working with our sheriff's as well as our block-by-block security ambassadors to ensure, absolutely ensure that our nightlife safety establishments, our LGBTQ rainbow district and our community is safe," said Sepi Shyne, West Hollywood's mayor pro tem. "The message to anyone that may be wanting to come and cause harm is, don't even try it."
Following the horrific mass shooting in Colorado Springs at an LGBTQ nightclub that killed five people and injured 18, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has increased foot patrols and West Hollywood bar employees have been trained for active-shooter situations. Also, the sheriff's department has partnered with the block-by-block security ambassadors which have additional staff and now patrol residential neighborhoods.
"Our security ambassadors do provide a very highly visible, unarmed presence along Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose, the Sunset Strip, later in the evening hours and our residential patrols. Our safety ambassadors are trained in de-escalation tactics," said David Aguilar, regional vice president of Block-by-Block.
"It's safe. The ambassadors make a difference. They're always walking around. Feels better even. Though we need the cops too, the sheriff's, absolutely," said Jean Georgian, who owns Georgiano Fine Jewelry and Watches.
Georgian has owned the West Hollywood shop since the 1990s and although his store was burglarized eight months ago, he says he feels safer than ever this holiday season and hopes local businesses see a boost.
"Especially jewelry. You cannot buy online. You have to see it, you have to feel lit. You have to know the designer is right behind the piece showing you what he did," said Georgian.
Another holiday safety tip: If you're planning to order a lot of packages and are concerned they may not be safe on your doorstep all day, consider having them deliver to a PO Box or a locked mailbox.
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