CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – In the days leading up to Christmas, people are busy buying last-minute gifts, planning activities, and preparing for relatives to come into town. With the hustle and bustle, law enforcement agencies are warning people to stay aware of their surroundings and retail workers to keep their eyes open for people who are stealing.

Sergeant Justin Kursh patrols West Ashley with the Charleston Police Department. In the last three months, shoplifting reports have slightly increased.

  • October: 23 reports
  • November: 26 reports
  • December (so far): 31 reports

He says both small and big-ticket items are targeted often by repeat offenders.

“A $1700 necklace from a jewelry store, tools, power tools, and they’re taking as much as they can carry. So they grab a couple of boxes, they’re $700, $800 dollars a pop,” said Sgt. Kursh.

Extra patrols by Charleston Police Officers as well as loss prevention officers at stores are deterring thieves.

“Walmart has really good loss prevention so I can say that if you’re going to go into Walmart and steal, you’re probably going to get caught. Same with the Palmetto State Armory we have on Sam Rittenberg.”

Another problem law enforcement is on the lookout for is porch pirates. Sgt. Kursh says a camera system can make a big difference.

“With that video footage, it’s a major deterrent to some individuals.”

Another thing police are warning about is staying safe on the roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the holiday season can be deadly because of drunk drivers.

“Make sure you have someone that can get you home safely,” said Sgt. Kursh.

Whether it’s a designated driver or an uber, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

“Make sure the individual whos picking you up knows you are and confirm the license plate,” he said. “They added those additional safety measures.”