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Police increasing patrols for holiday shopping crowds

As Black Friday approaches, police are increasing their presence at Dothan shopping centers.
Shoppers line up outside of Best Buy in Dothan last year on Black Friday.
Shoppers line up outside of Best Buy in Dothan last year on Black Friday.
Dothan Police Dept. Bike Patrol will also patrol shopping areas.
Dothan Police Dept. Bike Patrol will also patrol shopping areas.
As Black Friday approaches, police are increasing their presence at Dothan shopping centers. They're going to have officers working overtime to patrol areas like the Pavilion and mall parking lots. The bike patrol will also be out making sure shoppers are as safe as possible this holiday season.

"Don't give the thieves the opportunity to take advantage of you," said Major Steve Parrish from the Dothan Police Department.

Every year Dothan police keep close tabs on shopping centers and this year they'll be out at 4AM on Black Friday.

"The focus of the program is to beef up the shopping centers in the city and have our officers conduct not only walking patrols in our shopping centers but bike patrols as well… and we usually have a detail that will put out a few surprises for any would be thieves and things like that may want to be looking for a target of opportunity," Parrish said.

"Any time you have more police out, you got to feel safer about that. I'm sure it deters a lot of people when they see police cars or even bike patrols are coming around. They're a little less anxious to pop open or bust open a window or pop open a trunk or something like that," said Ken Harness, a shopper at Dothan Pavilion.

Police say shoppers need to be on alert; be aware of your surroundings and stay off your cell phone and when it comes to gifts, lock them in the trunk.

Store employees will also be on the lookout for shoplifters. Just last year the National Retail Federation saw a 30 percent increase in holiday shopping related crimes. If you see anything out of the ordinary while in a store or in a store parking lot you're asked to contact Dothan Police at 793-0215.

Carolyn Brewster is a Multimedia Journalist for WDHN News. Follow her on Twitter @CarolynWDHN or email her at Carolyn@WDHN.com
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