Hoover police are gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season.
From Thanksgiving Day through the end of the year, additional police officers will be on duty in retail areas and busy intersections.
“We want whoever comes to Hoover to, No. 1, we want them to feel safe and secure. I mean that’s why we’re saturating the retail stores and the intersections,” said Brian Hale, the Police Department's crime prevention specialist.
Officers will monitor congested traffic areas and have the ability to adjust the traffic flow manually. Other officers will be in shopping areas. The Hoover Police Mobile Command Center will operate from the Costco parking lot, near Galleria Boulevard.
Hale said the goal is for people to get to stores safely, shop safely and get home safely.
“We do this every year to make sure that they’re able to do that,” he said. “On the other side of that coin, we want potential criminals to know this is not a place to do your business.”
Because criminals sometimes take advantage of the craziness of the holiday season, Hale said shoppers should consider going in groups because there is safety in numbers. It's also important to park in well-lit and well-populated areas, he said
“You want to go somewhere where there is a lot of visibility,” Hale said. “You definitely don’t want to park somewhere isolated if you’re by yourself.”
Before leaving a car in a parking lot, Hale said to put all valuables in the trunk out of sight or to take them with you.
People also should be wary of strangers who approach them in the parking lot, he said. Sometimes people will work in pairs, and while one engages you in a conversation, the other is coming from behind you, he said.