Keeping shoppers safe this holiday season

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Bustling parking lots and crowded aisles signify the start of what retailers hope will be a booming holiday shopping season. While shoppers are busy looking for bargains, police and officials at The Mall at Turtle Creek will be making sure those shoppers are safe and secure.

"As far as the Jonesboro Police Department, we'll have four officers inside and two officers outside," said Greg Lawson with the Jonesboro Police Department.

Beefing up security is part of the plan police and mall officials work on together weeks in advance of the holiday shopping season.

"We came up with a schedule for us and kind of sat down and talked about what we were going to do, and where we were going to have officers and that kind of thing," said Lawson.

While police can't be everywhere, they can count on other resources.  Lawson says the approximately 180 cameras the mall has helps police and mall officials know what's going on and act as a deterrent to criminal behavior as well.

"Just about anywhere you're at inside the mall itself, you're going to be on camera," said Lawson.

"Always be aware of your surroundings not just during the holiday season, but anytime of the year," said Lieutenant Rick Elliot with Jonesboro Police.

Elliot says that's just one precaution in a long list of precautions you can take to help avoid becoming a victim.

Others include:

Not leaving purses or purchases unattended

If you are carrying a lot of bags, take some to the car

Lock cars and close windows

Only carry necessary cash and credit cards

Don't leave valuables or purchases in plain sight

"Don't leave them in plain sight where someone could knock your glass out and do their Christmas shopping out in the parking lot," said Lt. Elliot.

"I work for what I have, other people work for what they have.  People that don't, that make a living stealing stuff, you know I just don't care for that at all so we bend over backwards to try and keep people safe out here," said Lawson.

Police say one of the most important things you can do to help keep yourself and others safe, is to report any kind of suspicious activity you notice.

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