By Tom Vigilante, Jr.
With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season fast approaching, Phoenix’s ABC television affiliate recently aired a segment on their evening news about the number of car thefts at Valley shopping malls.
According to research done among car thefts at Phoenix-area malls from September 2011 to August 2012, ABC 15 (KNXV-TV, Ch. 15) reported that Metrocenter in Phoenix had the most occurrences with 84 cars stolen on its property during the 12-month time frame. Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale ranked second with 56 thefts, Arizona Mills in Tempe was third with 33 and Desert Sky Mall in Phoenix was fourth with 31. Car thefts for other malls included Tempe Marketplace (12), Scottsdale Fashion Square (5), Mesa’s Fiesta Mall (5), Mesa’s Superstition Springs Center (3) and Chandler Fashion Center (2).
The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that New Year’s Day is the leading holiday for reported vehicle thefts, while Christmas Day repeats annually as the holiday with the fewest reported cars stolen. The NICB reminds drivers to be alert during the busy holiday season by parking in well-lit areas at shopping centers, keeping packages in the trunk or out of sight and making sure vehicles are locked while parked.
Although Phoenix led the nation in auto thefts in 2002, NCIB data now ranks the Valley 60th among 366 metro areas in car thefts. According to the Arizona Republic, the decrease in car thefts can be attributed to the creation by the Arizona State Legislature of the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, which trains police officers, provides funding for prosecutors dealing in auto-theft cases and issues bait cars to lure thieves.
While the decrease in auto thefts in the Phoenix metropolitan area has decreased significantly, there is still work to be done to prevent additional displeasure for car owners in the future.
Centralized Vision provides pro-active protection of properties and assets by using remote-camera monitoring with real-time response actions for companies, including strip malls and shopping centers. We have a technician at our corporate headquarters monitor closed-circuit video cameras throughout parking lots and closed-off areas of various shopping centers 24 hours a day to prevent car thefts, trespassing and personal attacks.
When our technician views a crime being committed on camera, he or she can immediately alert local law enforcement to dispatch police officers to the property, and even provide them with a photo or video in real time to track down the suspect. Some of our client’s CCTV cameras are equipped with voice response features, allowing Centralized Vision technicians to warn a suspect they are being watched on video and deter a crime from being committed.
Although Christmas shoppers can take precautions to prevent their automobile from being stolen at Phoenix shopping centers, it is always a good idea for malls to invest in additional resources to make their customers feel safe during the holiday season.
Tom Vigilante, Jr. is President & Founder of Centralized Vision, which has offices in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver. For more information on real-time video verification services or GPS monitoring, go to centralizedvision.com or call 855-888-8094.