Montgomery County police cruisers will be a more frequent sight near commercial areas over the holidays.
More shoppers during the holiday season means more targets for muggers. Montgomery County is taking steps to stop this potential spike in crime before it happens.
Montgomery County will conduct its annual "Shop With A Cop" campaign starting Friday and running through Dec. 23. Extra police will be stationed at more than 20 malls and shopping districts throughout the county. Police Chief Thomas Manger says it's easy for a holiday shopper to be a victim of robbery, but also just as easy not to be. He warns shoppers to keep distractions to a minimum.
"Make sure that when you're walking to and from your car, you're not encumbered by both arms full of packages," says Manger. "You're less able to be aware of what's around you, and less able to defend yourself if something occurs."
While county authorities want people to be careful, they also don't want to scare them, because holiday shopping is big business.
"Shop in Montgomery County," says county executive Isiah Leggett. "This is an important time of year, you'll be safe. I would add a little bit to the 'Shop With A Cop.' I want you to shop till you drop with a cop in Montgomery County."
In addition to providing the extra patrols, police will also be passing out bright yellow re-usable shopping bags at malls and shopping districts, a gift that allows shoppers to avoid paying the county's bag tax.