Burbank police offer safety tips to shoppers amid rise in crime at Empire Center

Sophie Flay Image
Thursday, May 16, 2024
Burbank's Empire Center sees increase in crime
Burbank police said they have seen a rise in crime at the Empire Center, getting calls there every day. Now, they are helping retailers and shoppers with safety events.

The Empire Center in Burbank attracts thousands of shoppers daily, with its ample variety of retail stores and restaurants.

But these days it's also attracting plenty of criminals.

"With that high volume of people, unfortunately, comes a high volume of theft," Burbank police Sgt. Steve Turner said.

Overall, crime in Burbank decreased 1% from 2022 to 2023. But, crime at the Empire Center increased by 27%, according to police.

On Wednesday, Burbank police were at the shopping center to talk to customers and retailers about the increase in crime and offer safety tips. Police said they get calls to the Empire Center daily.

"Hosting events like this and working with our retailers here, we try to disrupt as much as we can," Turner said.

He said retailers like Nordstom Rack asked the police department to host the event and teach customers how to shop safely

"We run a campaign that has 'lock it, hide it, keep it.' Meaning your purse, your valuables that are in your car, if you're parking out here in the parking lot, make sure you lock that stuff in your trunk," Turner said. "If you're shopping at one of the other stores, and you go back to your car, make sure you put that in the trunk before you go to another one or keep it with you."

Aside from Empire Center security and patrolling officers, police mobile surveillance trailers, with cameras attached to the top, are monitoring shoppers around the clock.

"I moved to Burbank just from Los Angeles, but it feels like I'm in a different state -- so safe here," Burbank resident Byron Engle King said. "I think they have a reputation for being tough on crime here, and they should show their presence."