INDIANAPOLIS - Tis’ the season to be jolly, but more than ever, it’s a time to be alert.
Along with shoppers, metro police officers have also packed the malls this holiday season.
With three of the city's six major shopping malls in their jurisdiction, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s (IMPD) North District has committed all available resources to the holiday shopping experience.
The project even has a name, the Holiday Shopping Patrol initiative with a heavy emphasis on the 82nd and 86th street corridor.
Police are looking for anything and everything that looks out of place. Sgt. Mark Dorsey is part of the unit detailed to mall security.
"If you see people out walking in between cars and looking in, we can stop them and question them. But there's nothing we can hold them for," IMPD Sgt. Mark Dorsey said.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, police will have a combination of marked units, plain-clothes detectives, police on bikes and officers on horseback patrolling Castleton Square Mall, the Fashion Mall and Glendale Mall. Police want to emphasize to shoppers to exercise every precaution.
"If you do buy things and put them in your trunk, go ahead and move your car,” IMPD Commander Thomas Koppel said.
Police said it’s good to get in your car, drive around, go and park in another spot so that nobody saw you put your valuables in the back. Police also said to just be smart with what you do with your shopping.
Police also recommend that shoppers avoid parking next to vehicles with tinted windows and use ATMs inside the mall rather than outside. Use charge cards with low credit limits. Always have your keys ready before you reach your vehicle.
And don't hesitate to ask mall security for an escort to your vehicle. Police said to trust your own instincts: If something doesn’t look or seem right, it most likely isn’t.
If you shop online this holiday season, police urge you to keep all your receipts and check your credit statements at the end of each month.