"You might see [criminals] driving up inside, down side streets and parking lots," explained Sgt. John Delaney of the Springfield, MA police. "There might be a younger person on a bicycle and what they're doing is scouting the parking lot, looking inside the cars, to see if there's any packages."
In light of this reported influx of crime during the holidays, law enforcement and personal safety experts urge caution in parking structures. The main takeaways from Western Mass News:
Sgt. Delaney recommends pepper spray, which is legal to sell and carry in all 50 states, for its effectiveness and ease of use. "It's a really good product, it works, it does what it's supposed to do," said Terry Goodrich of Guardian Uniform and Supply. "It's simple to use, very simple to learn how to use it proficiently as long as you have it ready. It hurts, intensely, enough to spray in their face and get away. And that's the idea: spray and run. You're not going to spray and fight, you're going to spray and run."