Thefts and robberies up as criminals prepare for holiday shopping season

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Only a week from Thanksgiving and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, crime is on the rise this time of year.

WREG found thefts and robberies are up across the city of Memphis compared to last year, and it's only a week away from the holidays.

“The second you let your guard down is when something bad is going to happen," holiday shopper Steven Gray said. "I hate to say it, but that's the world we live in."

Just how businesses are preparing for the holiday season, criminals are doing the same.

"Criminals, they're not stupid," Gray said. "They're smart people."

Memphis Police have responded to multiple thefts recently, and they have posted video of many of those incidents, asking the public to help find the suspect.

One post shows surveillance footage of a man robbing the Gamestop on Park Avenue at gunpoint Monday. The man walks into the store waving a gun and demanding money, and he left with cash.

Another post shows man walking into a Dollar General on S. Third Street with a gun also demanding money before running away.

Last week, police posted about three bandits who stole more than $600 worth of Nike apparel from the City Gear on Lamar Avenue.

In busy shopping areas like Wolfchase, shoppers said they make sure to stay on their toes.

"With as many businesses there are, you got the mall right here, I mean they just know the money is running around," Gray said. "You can just try to drive down the street here in a couple of weeks, and you won't be able to because of the amount of people that are going to be out here, and they're out here to spend money."

According to data from Memphis Police, there have been nearly 400 thefts and robberies in the past week across the city, many of them shoplifting crimes. That's more than 100 crimes more than the same time last year.

Gray said the best way to be safe is to be aware.

"Just be safe out there," he said. "If you've got little kids, just make sure you're keeping an eye on them. If you've got presents in the car, make sure you're locking them. Just keep your eyes out and head on a swivel."

As always if you see any suspicious activity while out shopping for the holidays, immediately contact police.

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