Operation Safe Shopping: Police presence

Police are out at shopping centers this weekend in plain clothes, in cars, on motorcycles, and even horseback. They hope extra patrols will keep crime to minimum this holiday season.

A sea of cars. Wave after wave of shoppers. A never-ending opportunity for crime.

"The biggest mistake people make is leaving items in their car, plainly visible," said Inspector Ray douglas. He says much of the crime could be avoided if shoppers would just be smarter.

"A lot of times they'll even forget to lock their doors when they leave (they're in such a rush?) such a hurry to get back inside to get that last bargain," he said.

We took a walk with the Inspector in a parking lot near Wolfchase Galleria and found vehicle after vehicle packed with presents.

"It's very obvious, even to somebody driving by--there's things back there," he said. It turns cars into sitting ducks for a quick working crook. "60 seconds, a good auto burglar could be in there, lock punched and have everything gone in 60 seconds," he said.

Memphis Police hope to keep holiday crime under control by beefing up patrols at places like Wolfchase.

"Not only do the bad guys know we're here--the shoppers see us as well and it gives them a sense of security knowing we're out here," he said.

Shopper Sherry Walker tries to do her part by covering up her belongings. "[My goal is] to have my things here when I get back and not have anyone break into my car," she said.

There are no guarantees when it comes to safety, but it's a start.

Cars with trunks offer the best security. But if you drive a van or S.U.V., police say get a cover or throw a blanket over your stuff.

That's because most crooks go for the sure thing.

Security doesn't end at the Tennessee state line. Law enforcement officers will also be on patrol at malls in Southaven, Mississippi with the same goal in mind: keeping you safe this holiday season.

Southaven police plan to beef up their patrols through the "Christmas Presence" program to keep an eye on shoppers and any would-be criminals.

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