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Black Friday Safety: More 'Smash-And-Grab' Robberies Prompt Increase In Mall Security, Pleas To Be Aware While Shopping

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- The Los Angeles Police Department has taken special care this year to pay attention to holiday crimes as there appears to be an increase in robberies.

From the San Fernando Valley to L.A.'s westside, shoppers were seeing a visible police presence at local malls.

"Definitely more security for sure -- noticeable," said shopper Earl Evans.

The increase in security comes after a series of so-called "smash and grab" robberies, which include destroying barriers like windows and then stealing items.

One recent instance was on Wednesday night when a security guard at a Nordstrom store in Canoga Park attacked with bear spray, and the burglars left with valuables.

At Westfield Century City on Friday, uniform officers were on foot patrol, while expandable barriers were ready to be installed.

"We are monitoring the situation with smash-and-grab robberies around the county very closely. We have a great relationship with LAPD and local authorities and are working with them to make sure we're fully prepared," said Louis Schillace, a senior general manager at Westfield Century City.

The LAPD says it's recorded more than 130 follow-home robberies in recent months.

Former LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell says don't allow yourself to be a target.

"Don't be as conspicuous with what you have on. Be careful of the bags you're carrying," McDonnell said.

Over at Rancho Park – the Rosenthal-Davis Family is skipping Black Friday shopping.

They'd rather play whiffle ball while dad doesn't the crowds.

--sot--   Noah Davis/Parkgoer 109-115

 Instead of going to the mall where things might be happening.  Go play and order online.  It's great deals on Cyber Monday.

In addition to extra security at local malls, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said this week the department is forming a new task force to tackle the recent spike in follow-home robberies.

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