Local police ready extra patrols to fight holiday shopping crime

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Shoppers hitting the stores around the Chesapeake Square Mall should notice more police hanging around next week.

Capt. Mark Heckler, commander of the city's 4th police precinct, says more officers will be patrolling in cars and on bikes.

He tells News 3 there is a city-wide effort to protect Chesapeake shopping districts, of which the Chesapeake Square Mall area is the second busiest.

Heckler hopes this increased visibility will deter criminals from targeting shoppers and inspire any potential theft victims to ask for help.

This, despite the idea that more people are staying home and shopping online.

“Whether it’s shopping traffic, dining traffic, people going to the movies, there’s still an abundance and spike in traffic in our shopping areas during the holidays," said Capt. Heckler. "We know that shopping habits may have changed but our approach to how we address safety for our citizens and how we address crime really hasn’t.”

That includes coming up with new ways to get people staying proactive in protecting themselves.

“One of the things we worry about. We tend to see spikes in crime relating to larcenies from vehicles," said Capt. Heckler. "People are shopping, they have shopping bags they typically want to put in their car. Sometimes they don’t take that extra step to hide them from plain view or put their packages in the trunk.”

To help remind shoppers to secure their cars, he says police city-wide will be putting signs on store windows and sticking them in the lawn around shopping areas.

Police say when thieves steal from vehicles they usually are looking for electronics, guns, tools, money, purses and shopping bags.

If you are the victim of a crime, call 911 for an emergency or your police department's non-emergency line. Many departments also have online reporting systems.

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