MILBURN, N.J. (CBS 2) — Car break-ins and other crimes have police warning shoppers in one New Jersey town. They’re being told to stay alert, especially in mall parking areas.

The Short Hills Mall in Millburn is known for its upscale stores, but a recent crime wave has police on alert.

“I think we’re seeing a rise in car break-ins everywhere — both residential, malls, shopping areas across the board. It seems to be the ‘in’ crime now,” Millburn Police Deptartment Lt. Peter Eakley told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Authorities said that many of the crimes take place in parking decks, where visibility is often low and dark.

Officers like Michael Goldfarb are on patrol and CBS 2 went along for the ride as he looked for suspicious activity.

Police have not been taking any chances because over the years, criminals have kept them busy. Those include robbers caught on tape stealing $50,000 worth of jewelry, a smash-and-grab at Bloomingdale’s and a brazen theft of fur coats.

Just recently, thieves took off with $3,000 worth of Louis Vuitton belts.

CBS 2 reached out to the mall for comment on several car break-ins this past week. Those calls have been not been returned, but shoppers say they’re not worried.

“Police always are out here, security guards. I very feel safe,” said one shopper.

Police say to prevent becoming a victim of car break-ins, put away electronic devices like GPS – something many people just don’t do.

“If you’re going to put it away in your trunk, make sure you do it somewhere else besides the mall — in case someone is watching,” Goldfarb said.

As the holiday season approaches, police are asking shoppers to be aware of their surroundings.

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