Another Black Friday, with all of its attendant hoopla and excitement, is in the books. But the holiday shopping season has only begun. The St. Louis County Police Department announced in a news release that it is stepping up patrols in a Holiday Enforcement/Crime Prevention Program to keep an even more watchfiul eye on those who are up to no good.
"The St. Louis County Police Department will continue to have both uniformed and undercover officers working in and around shopping centers," said St. Louis County Police Officer Randy Vaughn in the news release. "The Metro Air Support Unit will also continue patrolling commercial parking lots and shopping centers. Officers of the St. Louis County Highway Safety Unit will be working additional patrols throughout the holidays, emphasizing DWI enforcement."
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch stated in the news release, "We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. In addition to each precinct implementing specific strategies for their area, officers from our Division of Special Operations, such as the Highway Safety Unit will also be highly visible. Remember, keep your eyes and ears open and immediately call the police if you see suspicious activity. Prevention is the key, and if we all pitch in and work together, I know we can be successful."
In Fenton, Police Officer Aaron Dilks provided some tips to help shoppers avoid being victimized and to avoid traffic snarls, especially at the popular Gravois Bluffs shopping destination.
"Most Fenton residents know that (Black Friday) transforms the peaceful Gravois Bluffs shopping area into a commuting nightmare," Dilks said "To ease your shopping experience try using the alternate entrances and exits. Give yourself extra time to accommodate for the extra congestion in the area. You’re not getting anywhere quick, so just relax and drive calm."
"As you browse through the electronics department of your favorite store, shopping for a new iPod or laptop, criminals are browsing through the parking lot shopping for the same items or holiday shopping bags that you left in your car"" Dilks said. "Criminals are watching for items in plain view on the front or back seat of your car, or tucked away in you center console. Keep items out of sight; the trunk is an ideal location to keep valuables. Criminals also love unlocked doors. This makes stealing your Christmas gifts and electronic devices so much more convenient. They need to be quick and discreet; most of the time if your door is locked they move on to the next car. They will find an unlocked door."