Prattville Police Beef Up Security At Shopping Centers During Holiday Season

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By Catalina Trivino

Prattville Police are beefing up patrols during the holiday season in major shopping centers in the area -- everything from extra bike patrols, cameras and more. But they're also watching you behind the scenes...

As you're out shopping in Prattville during the coming weeks, you may feel like big brother is watching over you. But the extra security is all in hope of cutting down on thefts and car-breakins, which usually go up about 15 percent this time of year.

Shopper Debi Goodman says the shopping nightmare has happened to her.

"They smashed out a window and took everything, so since then, I don't keep any of my shopping in the car in the front. Everything goes into the trunk," Said {rattville resident, Debi Goodman.

But with beefed up patrols in 10 of Prattville's busiest shopping centers, police chief Mark Thompson, says shoppers like her won't need to worry...

"You have the Target, High Pointe, Walmart, K-Mart... I think those are the major ones. Anything in between and Winn-Dixie parking lot, Publix, areas like that... Belks," Said Thompson.

With extra security like bike patrols at each center, having between two and four riding the area -- officers making sure your car isn't broken into.

But that's not all -- there are numerous officers in marked and undercover vehicles and several portable tower cameras police say are placed in strategic locations in the parking lots.

"The way I look at it is the more security we have, the less is stolen [and] the less it will cost me next year because part of the stolen things is what I end up paying for in the long run," Said Montgomery resident, Yvonne Houston.

And if you see a mobile command posts, that means they're watching you from behind the scenes.

"For officers that when they're tasked for when this vehicle is deployed, we have spare radios, extra radios for those to use. These are our laptops that we use for any kind of disasters or incidents and these are our mobile radios," Said Pat Kowalczyk with the Prattville Police Department.

All extra security Goodman believes will keep her car from being broken into again.

"They've got the substations. That doesn't happen anymore! I think it is really good," Said Goodman.

There are at least 10 extra officers per shift working shopping security in Prattville. The Target shopping center has a police annex for officers and that presence hopes to reduce the number of shoplifters.

Officers are recommending you put your shopping items in the trunk, where they are not visible. Any larger items, like televisions, should be taken inside immediately instead of leaving them in your car.

The holiday patrols will end after Christmas.

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