‘Operation Christmas Presence’ kicks off in Fresno following string of retail burglaries across state

KSEE24 News

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – In the wake of a string of smash and grab burglaries across the state, Central Valley law enforcement agencies coming together for ‘Operation Christmas Presence’ to deliver a strong message, saying any kind of violence or chaos will not be tolerated.

‘Operation Christmas Presence’ is in its 24th year and the mission is to deter thieves from praying on holiday shoppers and keep the community safe.

“To these criminals and thieves, we are ready, we will arrest you, we will hold you accountable,” says Fresno police chief, Paco Balderrama.

This holiday season, local law enforcement agencies are coming together to not only keep shoppers safe but to prevent any sort of crime in reference to the burglaries that have taken place in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“Unfortunately it is a problem, but again we are here and take action against that,” says Mike Salas, spokesperson for CHP.

Agencies will be patrolling more and there will be a heavy presence of undercover officers at shopping centers, whether it be on foot, on the bike, or up in the air.

Local agencies are on high alert this season, working closely with retailers and using security cameras, asking the community to be vigilant.

“Always shop with a friend, park in well-lit areas, don’t leave items in your car, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t get distracted by smartphones,” says Chief Balderrama.

For law enforcement agencies fighting to prevent chaotic events from happening, Chief Balderrama says it can be an obstacle since criminals typically face very few consequences, but that will not stop them from coming out in full force.

“For those people out there planning any type of mob theft that we’ve seen in the north and south, we’re not going to tolerate that here,” says Chief Balderrama.

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