On Thanksgiving afternoon, Black Friday and throughout the shopping season, more police officers will be concentrated near the primary shopping areas by Interstate-40, according to a release from the Mt. Juliet Police Department.
“The ultimate goal is to deter and prevent criminal activity,” Chief James Hambrick said. “We simply want Mt. Juliet’s shoppers to have a great experience at our area shopping destinations. Residents and visitors will see an increased police presence, and there will also be undercover officers that will not be easily noticed.”
A patrol zone was activated this week around the malls to increase response time and provide more visible presence of police.
There will also be plain-clothed officers in unmarked vehicles conducting undercover operations. Police will watch for suspicious or unsafe behavior, focusing on those who could be trying to take advantage of the distraction that comes with holiday shopping.
The initiative began in 2010, and Mt. Juliet police have not experienced major theft or violent crime in the shopping hubs while the initiative was underway.
Mt. Juliet police also offer the Retail Text Alert program to staff at retail stores. The program provides real-time text alerts about criminal activity — mainly shoplifting — to retail staff once an incident occurs.
This program has been successful in keeping retailers aware of crimes and suspects before they hit their stores. Retailers interested in receiving the text alerts can contact Cpl. James Christensen at 615-754-3907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police offer the following holiday shopping safety tips to Mt. Juliet residents and visitors:
• Report any suspicious or out-of-place behavior to police, immediately.
• Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
• Park in well-lighted spaces, lock car doors, and place packages out of sight in the trunk or under seats.
• Do not carry large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card if possible.
• Carry purses close to the body, not dangling by the straps.
• Put wallets in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
• Supervise children at all times. Teach children to go to a police officer or security guard if they get lost or separated.
• Take a holiday inventory. The holidays are a good time to take photos or videos of items in your home
Police also offer these parking lot safety tips:
• Always be aware of your surroundings.
• If shopping at night, park in well-lit areas.
• Never leave your vehicle unlocked.
• When walking to your vehicle, look prepared by having your keys in your hand, your purse and other packages close to you, and always be aware of what is around you.
• Never leave holiday packages or other valuable items visible inside your vehicle.
• If possible, shop with other and walk in groups. It is safer to have another person with you.
• If you see suspicious people or activity, go back into the store or to a populated area and contact the police immediately