ST. LOUIS — If you're an avid Black Friday shopper, you're probably already mapping out your route for later this week.
But how do our local malls stack up when it comes to crime and safety?
We took a close look at crime data at the four largest malls in our area — St. Louis Galleria, South County Center, St. Clair Square and West County Center.
We found crime increases between 30 and 70% in the 30 days after Black Friday when compared to the 30 days before then.
Overall, when you look at the types of crime, you could probably guess the biggest problems.
"A lot of shoplifting, vehicle crimes, stuff like that," said Officer Allison Brown of Richmond Heights Police.
By far, West County Center has the highest number when it comes to larceny. Larceny is essentially stealing something without breaking or harming anything, so this includes shoplifting and stealing something from your car.
Here are the numbers for larceny at the area malls since 2018:
- West County Center: 675
- South County Center: 483
- St. Louis Galleria: 482
- St. Clair Square: 51
Officer Brown said the concept of leaving your car unlocked so your window doesn't get broken is bad advice.
"Really most criminals are opportunists so they look for the cars that are unlocked so they can get in and out quickly. They don’t draw a bunch of attention to the car, to the crime they’re committing, by breaking a window," Brown said.
When it comes to stolen cars, it's not a huge issue at most of the malls.
Here are the numbers for stolen cars at area malls in 2018:
- St. Louis Galleria: 23
- South County Center: 7
- St. Clair Square: 1
- West County Center: 0
Here's the good news, when it comes to assault, burglary and robbery, all of the malls reported incidents either close to or in the single digits.
So they happen but are incredibly rare.
Of course, one crime is too many, especially if it happens to you, but there is a silver lining. Only 5% of the crimes are considered violent, which means 95% of crime happening at our local malls involve crimes that don't put you directly in danger and are considered non-violent.