Operation Christmas Presence: Law enforcement to patrol shopping centers during the holidays

If you're heading out to buy gifts this holiday season, you may notice extra officers on patrol.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Restrictions in place due to the pandemic may limit the number of shoppers allowed inside malls and stores, but authorities will be out in full force.

"We'll have a larger presence of uniformed personnel out in our shopping centers as well as our shopping corridors. We'll be using our detective units in plain clothes patrolling those same areas looking for criminal activity," says Fresno Police Capt. Tom Rowe.

Fresno Police, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, and the CHP have been conducting Operation Christmas Presence for 23 years now.

Their sole purpose is to maintain a visible presence to deter criminals from victimizing shoppers during the holiday season.

"Please be safe. Be smart. But understand if you're out with ill intent, we will come after you, any criminals and bad guys, and put you in jail," says Capt. Mark Padilla.

And while you're out shopping, authorities ask that you be patient.

"Please be respectful of one another. Our local merchants have had some challenges this year and they're going to have different protocols in place regarding social distancing, masking and limited occupancy within their business," says Capt. Rowe.

Officers also offered some tips, urging shoppers to be vigilant.

Park in well-lit areas and try not to shop alone.

It is also important to not leave valuables in plain sight inside your car.
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