MIDWEST CITY — The police department will increase security measures at all retail businesses beginning Thanksgiving evening and continuing until Christmas Day, Police Chief Brandon Clabes said.
Clabes said with store owners offering sales and extending operating hours for holiday shoppers, crowds and crimes usually result.
“We've got some great retailers here,” Clabes said. “We want people to come out with their families, shop, eat, have fun and feel safe.”
To help holiday shoppers feel safe in Midwest City, Clabes said, a portion of the police department's budget will go toward increasing the manpower and hours of the police department as well as the number of locations at which officers will be stationed during the holiday season.
Clabes said police officers working overtime and undercover detectives will be stationed at retail outlets throughout the city while volunteers from the 300-member citizen academy alumni association will work in malls, stores and shopping areas to serve as extra eyes and ears.
Midwest City Explorer Scouts, a group of youths who hope to become law enforcement officers, will be stationed on store rooftops.
“We'll be everywhere,” Clabes said. “From shopping outlets to Walmart.”
In addition to the increased manpower, Clabes said, the department will use observation towers, extra video cameras and radios borrowed from the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department.
The most common crime during the holiday season is theft, Clabes said.
“Even when times are tough and money is tight people still want to provide for their families,” Clabes said. “We don't take theft lightly and have a zero tolerance for crime.”
Clabes said while crimes against people are not as common during the holiday season, he hopes the increased security will eliminate them altogether.
Clabes said shoppers can take precautions to decrease their chances of falling victim to crime.
He advises shoppers to be vigilant, go shopping in groups or with a partner, not to leave valuables in cars where criminals can see them and to park in well-lit areas.
Clabes asks that anyone who witnesses suspicious behavior to call 9-1-1.