December 6, 2019 10:10:12 AM
Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton has asked citizens not to be alarmed when Columbus Police Department parked its mobile command center in the Walmart parking lot Thursday afternoon, where it will remain for about a week before moving to Leigh Mall.
The command center is taking a prominent position in shopping areas throughout the city during the holiday season to help deter shoplifting, car burglaries, use of counterfeit money and other crimes that tend to increase between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Shelton said during a press conference Thursday. The increased patrols began Black Friday at Walmart and Leigh Mall and will continue until after Christmas.
"What we want to do is have a strong police presence and hopefully that strong police presence will reduce the criminals' desire to maybe commit an offense in that area," Shelton said. "The idea of having a mobile command center is something ... Jackson, Mississippi Police Department, Hattiesburg Police Department do. ... They run the shift from that mobile command center."
Additionally, CPD has increased patrols, including foot patrols, in and around businesses, Shelton said. He and interim head of Criminal Investigation Division Cpl. Eric Lewis asked citizens to be mindful of their surroundings, lock their car doors and keep valuables -- including shopping bags, packages and any high-price items -- in the trunks of their vehicles and out of sight of car windows if they leave them in their cars at all.
Lewis added about 90 percent of the car burglaries CPD has investigated this year were from people not locking their car doors.
For safety at home, they recommended not leaving delivery boxes on the street curb for trash pickup where potential burglars can locate homes with new, expensive items.
"It's a time to be festive and joyous, but also it's a time that we have to be concerned," Shelton said. "... We want people to have a good holiday."
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