PEORIA, AZ - The Peoria Police Department is using volunteers to help cut back on holiday crime.
Department of Public Safety worker Ursula Miller is one of them. "People tend to throw a lot of stuff in the back seat," she says while pointing out possible targets.
Ursula is fighting crime making sure your things don't become someone else's. "I look to see if there are things of value, sometimes people will leave laptops or tablets on the front seat, and that's an invitation for somebody to try and steal it."
That's what the police department is trying to prevent. Ursula is a volunteer patrol officer for Peoria police. On Saturday, we walked around with her at the Kohl's on 91st and Northern avenues as she handed out report cards at shopping centers.
"This one definitely passes," she says while looking into a white SUV. The report cards tell drivers what they're doing right, and what they could change to protect themselves and their belongings.
"If we've impacted possibly two or three, then the other people will think about their own cars and they should do it that way too."
Walking around the parking lot, she peers into vehicles looking for valuables left in plain sight as well as unlocked doors. One of them she tested was unlocked and the alarm went off. A perfect example of how easily thieves can get inside, even with a deterrent.
So she writes down on the report card and checks the box that says "doors unlocked."
"I think it's a good idea," said one driver, "because too many cars and items get stolen. I always lock my car."
Even with a full-time job, Ursula takes on another, to take on crime. "I just love this because I feel like I'm doing something for the community," she says.
Ursula has been a volunteer for two-and-a-half years. The department says it has fewer than 20 patrol officers so if you'd like to get involved contact Peoria police.