FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Expect to see more law enforcement at Central Valley shopping centers during the holiday season.
The California Highway Patro, Fresno Police, and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office kicked off the 23rd Annual Operation Christmas Presence. Their goal is to stop break-ins and thefts at malls and other stores.
The holiday season is the busiest time for most businesses and typically they make most of their revenue for the year. However, this year state mandates and the pandemic have hit small businesses hard.
“As we all know, 2020 has created a unique set of challenges for our community as well as our local merchants,” said Fresno Police Captain Tom Rowe.
“It is hard to continue at their end and you are seeing a lot of that where people are deciding whether it is easier to just close the doors or stay open,” said Fresno River Park’s Tracy Kashian.
Business owners hope the community rallies behind them to stay afloat. Meanwhile, both uniformed and undercover officers will be out in force in case of any problems.
“We hope our strong presence will deter you from that act,” said Rowe. “However, if it does not, we will do our absolute best to identify you, arrest you, and hold you criminally accountable.”
Helicopters and shopping center cameras will also be utilized. Officers recommend that when you do go shopping to park in a well-lit area, be respectful of store guidelines, don’t leave presents in your car, and stay alert.
“Most importantly be aware of your surroundings,” said Rowe. “Don’t get so wrapped up in your cellphone or your smart-devices that you aren’t looking around to what or who is around you.”