Deputies warn holiday shoppers of car break-ins

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SAN DIEGO -- The holidays are a hot time for thieves, according to San Diego police. That’s why authorities are taking action to try to prevent vehicle break-ins while people are shopping.

Shopping at the Nordahl Marketplace in San Marcos Tuesday was a bit different than usual. That’s because the SkyWatch tower was put up to keep shoppers safe.

The tower, which extends 25 feet in the air, is used by Sheriff’s deputies to oversee the entire shopping plaza.

“They should feel safer with us up here,” said Betzy Ladieu of San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

Just like on the ground, two deputies are on patrol above it all, using the 3600-degree view to look for thieves around the holiday season.

“It’s more of a crime of opportunity, somebody is walking by, they see an item and they break into the vehicle,” said Ladieu.

Meanwhile in El Cajon, Sheriff's deputies were at another busy shopping center taking a different approach but sending the same message by passing out safety fliers and giving away free anti-theft car clubs.

Officials say they hope shoppers get the message: lock their vehicle doors and hide personal belongings or put them in the trunk before they become a victim.