From the Clearwater Police Department:
Operation Safe Holiday 2012 is a combined effort to increase shopper safety and encourage safe driving practices during the holiday shopping rush. On November 23 and 24, teams of officers from Patrol, Community Liaisons, Anti-Crime, Criminal Investigations and Traffic Enforcement will be strategically deployed at various shopping locations and traffic areas with significant congestion.
Officers will patrol retail areas, including Westfield Countryside and Clearwater Mall, to provide an increased presence to prevent auto burglaries, retail thefts, and other crimes of opportunity associated with holiday shopping. Traffic Enforcement Officers will enforce and promote safe driving practices in high congestion areas to reduce traffic crash injuries and fatalities associated with aggressive driving, speeding and red light violations.
The Clearwater Police Command bus will be located in the Westfield Countryside
parking lot for anyone who has questions or needs assistance. We will also
hand out cards (*see details for Operation Identification at end) so that
people can keep a record of identifying information for their valuables such
as serial numbers, brand, model and a detailed description of the valuable.
A few tips for a safe shopping venture include:
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you shop at night, don't go alone.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and stay alert. If you see someone acting suspiciously, contact police or mall security immediately.
- Beware of distraction scams. This time of year, strangers may approach and try to distract you while they try to take your money or belongings.
- Make sure car windows and doors are locked. Don't leave valuables or shopping bags in plain view.
- Be careful if you carry a purse or wallet. These are prime targets for criminals in crowded areas. Keep your purse tucked close to your body and keep wallets in an inside jacket pocket.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use a debit or credit card.
- Don't overload yourself with packages. You need clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
Marked valuables can easily be identified and easier to recover if stolen. CPD will hand out cards during Operation Safe Holiday that allow shoppers to create a list of items including serial numbers, brand, model and a detailed description. The following are suggestions of items to mark and document; however, you should do so with anything you deem valuable:
- Television Sets
- Computers, Laptops
- Stereo Equipment
- MP3 Players
- Cell Phones
- Digital Cameras
- Video Recorders
- Car CD/DVD Players
- Other Personal Electronics
- Golf Clubs
- Radios (including Marine RDFs, etc.)
- Kitchen Appliances
- Lawn Mowers
- Fishing rods, reels
- Tools (Hand and Power)
Once you have documented a list of your valuables, you should file it with your records, keep a copy in your safe deposit box and you can mail a copy to the Clearwater Police Department (also available electronically at www.clearwaterpolice.org). Operation Identification acts like a fingerprint for your property, making it hard or impossible for burglars sell.