MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police officers found an entertaining way to address a serious problem.

The department made a video meant to warn people of the dangers of not securing valuables when shopping and parking downtown.

“With it being Christmas, I mean they’re always expecting more gifts, more items to be in the car, so they’re out searching more,” said Officer Chad Nelson.

Along with fellow Officer Craig Williams, Nelson spends hours patrolling areas where people park.

“These guys are predators and they’re looking for people who leave stuff in their vehicle,” Williams said.

They says it does not matter if you park in a ramp, in a surface lot or on the street — if you put packages inside and leave them in plain sight, someone is waiting for you to walk away so they can take it.

“The skyways that enter into a parking lot is usually a great opportunities for these people,” Williams said.

Police say these predators use the skyway as an entrance and exit after the crime is committed.

“They just flow with the people,” Williams said.

And by the time you get to the skyways, your merchandise is gone. Officers say put your stuff in the trunk. Predators usually don’t break in there, but if you have stuff in the back seat, count on it being taken.

“Here’s a duffle bag in the back. We don’t know what it’s filled with, but if I was a criminal this is what I would look at, you know, to see what’s in there,” Williams said.

This type of opportunity is why car thefts and break-ins are up 30 percent in downtown Minneapolis. Police say this is a crime that you can prevent.

Many of these thieves are good, according to police. They can break into your car, get what’s yours and be gone in less than 60 seconds.

Minneapolis Police say be aware of your surroundings and make sure after you shop to put your junk in the trunk.

Reg Chapman