Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

How Police Gear Up For Holiday Crime Upswings

Whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even Easter—police often see an upswing in crime during the holiday seasons. It isn’t all about stealing gifts, either. Around the holidays, people tend to congregate in certain areas like shopping centers, malls, and restaurants. This provides more opportunities for criminals to take advantage of people who may be visiting from out of town, or simply find themselves swept up in the holiday spirit and thinking less about their own personal security.

“Everybody knows crime increases during the big holidays, like Christmas,” says Jim Webb, a San Diego theft attorney. “But the smaller holidays can be just as bad, particularly because there tends to be a large influx of people coming and going. With that influx comes increased crime.”

Every year, local police across the country gear up for these upswings in unlawful activity. Here are some of the ways they prepare.

How do police with Black Friday and holiday mobs?

How do police with Black Friday and holiday mobs?

Surveying from the sky.

Police in Clearwater, Florida have taken to the skies in an effort to stop crime. Using a SkyWatch surveillance tower, which is essentially a small observation booth that can be lifted and moved around via a large crane, the Clearwater PD are able to keep an eye on particularly vulnerable areas like parking lots.

“You start picking up common behaviors and common patterns,” said Clearwater PD Officer Michael Hatch.

The Taghi family, who were visiting Clearwater from Los Angeles, commented on the department’s enhanced security measure. “They can watch the cars so people don’t break into the cars, that would be nice.”

Veronica Thomas, who was visiting from Paris, France, says she isn’t concerned when she goes out shopping. “I feel secure,” she said. “I’m not worried.”

Increasing police presence in crowded areas.

Of particular concern during busy holiday seasons are car break-ins and pickpockets. In anticipation of these problems, police tend to increase their presence in high-risk areas like shopping malls, store centers, and main streets.

“Last year officers patrolling the shopping centers, especially downtown, seem to be a calming presence and a deterrence for crime,” said Chief AJ Gary with the Conway Police Department in Arkansas. “We will continue those efforts again this year.”

Police in Orlando, Florida have an especially difficult task considering the town’s status as a holiday destination. Thousands of acres of land belonging to the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando amusement parks also present a significant challenge.

“This needs to be a collaborative effort and we need to be proactive about it,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Deming. “This is an all hands-on-deck operation and everyone, including myself, is going to be out doing our duty.”

By increasing their numbers in the field and patrolling high-risk areas frequently, police hope to stem the tide of holiday crime and create a safe environment for everybody to shop, eat, and relax with their families. But police note it’s important to remain personally vigilant to avoid becoming a victim of crime. In particular, they often give the public friendly reminders not to leave any valuables in their car, or carry too much with them when they go shopping.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



The Global Dispatch Facebook page- click here

Movie News Facebook page - click here

Television News Facebook page - click here

Weird News Facebook page - click here