UPDATED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 2:38pm
A week in advance of the busiest shopping day of the year, the Temple Police were once again ready to help shoppers feel secure. Anyone who visited any of Temple’s major retail centers most likely saw at least one Temple Police Officer looking out for his or her safety.
Beginning Tuesday, November 20th, the Temple Police Department started conducting its annual “Holiday Shopping Patrol.” As it has since the mid-1990’s, the Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Service (POPS Unit) will use the Mobile Operations Unit, bicycles, patrol cars, and foot patrols to maintain a strong, visible presence at area retail centers. Those will include: Colonial Mall (and its surrounding areas such as HEB, Academy Sporting Goods, and Walmart/Sam’s); Temple Towne Center (Staples/Hobby Lobby); and, Birdcreek Crossing (Target/Home Depot/Best Buy).
This annual extra patrol is one of the best-received programs in the Department’s history, and will continue to be a priority for Temple Police for years to come.
For citizens across Central Texas, The Temple Police Department offers a few holiday shopping safety tips:
• Limit your distractions and allow yourself extra time--being rushed or distracted can lead to other mistakes, and those mistakes lead to a stolen wallet, credit card, or, worse, a lost child.
• Keep your children and possessions very close, especially in a crowd, to avoid losing them.
• Exercise a little extra holiday cheer, and patience, with other shoppers, drivers, and pedestrians. Avoid confrontational situations in stores, parking lots, or on the road.
• Drive slowly in congested areas, and look out for pedestrians in parking lots.
• Ask a security officer or police officer to escort you to your car if you find you’ve accidentally parked in a poorly lit, remote area.
• Keep gifts and other valuables out of sight in your vehicle (preferably locked in your trunk). Drop items at home frequently, and keep them out of view through open shades or blinds.
• Watch your surroundings as you enter parking lots, and avoid people or cars that seem suspicious. If you have a bad feeling, listen to your instincts! Simply drive away before a problem develops. Then, notify a security officer or police officer, or use your phone to contact your local police department if you see suspicious activity.
Waco and Killeen Police Departments are stepping up the holiday patrols as well.