Clovis police working to keep shoppers safe

FRESNO, Calif.

Stores like Toys R Us are staying open late during the holiday season as people try to shop for everyone on their list and the Clovis Police Department has more officers patrolling parking areas to keep shoppers safe.

Shoppers hit stores in record numbers over the Black Friday weekend. The National Retail Federation estimates 247 million people visited stores and websites for Black Friday deals.

Stores like Walmart and Target opened doors earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day giving consumers more opportunities to take advantage of big deals. But with more hours to shop, crimes of opportunity also increase.

"We're trying to suggest that they be careful while they're shopping, pay attention to their surroundings," Sgt. Jim Koch of the Clovis Police Department said.

Officers with the Clovis Police Department are stepping up their efforts during the holiday season.

Patrol units are circling the parking lots of busy shopping areas looking for any suspicious activity and talking with shoppers about safety tips.

"We do kind of remind people not to leave items in plain view in their car, and if they're going to be placing items in their trunk, do that as your leaving. Not as you're pulling in or someone may see you and know that there's items in your trunk," Koch said.

Officers say its always best to avoid shopping at night. But if you do, try parking under a well lit area and avoid shopping alone.

"I saw more officers out and about today than I have in a long time, yeah, they're definitely out there," shopper Leslie Poutney said.

Poutney and her husband spent more than four hundred dollars buying Christmas gifts at Toys R Us. The couple keeps their car locked and avoids leaving any valuables inside.

"We lock everything, always have, I got my car broken into a long time ago and I don't want it to happen again," Rob Poutney said.

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