HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville Police Department is working to make shopping centers in our area safer by providing additional officers.
Holiday shopping can be pretty stressful and sometimes customers take that stress out on one another, and that sometimes leads to violence. That's why HPD came up with Operation Safe Shop to reduce crime in shopping centers.
HPD has been doing their Safe Shop detail for nearly 20 years.
"It's where we have off-duty officers in uniform and in a marked vehicle. They're either working on their off day or before or after their regular shift," said Huntsville Police Department Lt. Michael Johnson.
The program is used as a preventive tool and crime deterrent; usually four to six officers are assigned different shopping centers around Huntsville to keep watch over.
Having more officers visible helps cut down on shoplifting, breaking and entering and general crime at shopping centers in Huntsville.
"It also cuts down on response time you know, with the traffic on the roadways and foot traffic and vehicle traffic in the shopping centers, sometimes it can be more difficult for an officer to travel into the shopping malls," Johnson said. "Well, we already have officers there."
Johnson wants to remind shoppers to be observant and if you see any suspicious activity, say something.
Operation Safe Shop runs through the holiday shopping season on December 24.