LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Two people were killed in robberies turned shootings Friday in Las Vegas alarming security experts like David Kohlmeier, former New York and Henderson police officer, who called for people to practice simple safety measures that could save lives.
Kohlmeier said parking garage robberies are relatively rare, but the often dark complexes are prime territory for people looking to steal items from locals and tourists alike.
"It's definitely a targeted situation with robberies," he said, "close proximity, The [Las Vegas] Strip, a lot of tourists coming to town."
Kohlmeier said robbers often look for vulnerable targets like the elderly or people who are alone before they strike.
He said lit spaces are the most desirable as thieves like to operate in the dark, people should park in well-trafficked areas, and, if possible, people should take advantage of valet options to avoid the garages completely.
"It's either free or it's cheap," he said. "It's worth spending the few dollars or a tip just to have better parking and make sure it's safe."
Most importantly, Kohlmeier said not to fight a robber unless it's absolutely necessary.
"I remember speaking to different people that actually did some time for robbing some people in a car and they said, 'you know what, if they just gave me their car I wouldn't have shot them.' These are people who've done time," he said. "It's just property, right? You've got insurance. Everything can be replaced. If you've got to give up property, just give it up."
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. David Valenta said the main tip is for people to remain vigilant when parking to spot threats soon and react appropriately.
"Anytime, New Year's Eve, holiday shopping, all of that, we just always recommend citizens just be alert," Valenta said. "Be aware. You don't need to be paranoid, but always be alert."
Kohlmeier said if someone feels nervous or unsure about what's around them when parking in a garage, they can always hit the panic button on their key ring to set the car's alarm off.
He said thieves don't like attention and several seconds of a blaring horn and flashing lights are a good way to attract eyeballs to your area before getting out of the car.