December 7, 2006
Albemarle County Police are stepping up patrols around shopping centers as the holiday season hits full swing.
"A lot of it is about being seen and about communicating with people and providing people with that sense of safety and security," said Albemarle County Police Neighborhood Resource Unit Sergeant Peter Mainzer.
Mainzer is walking the beat at the Rio Hill Shopping Center, talking to shop owners and making himself visible.
"Our hope is by assigning some officers to the shopping centers to be visible both on foot and in a vehicles and occasionally on bicycles, that we will be able to act as a deterrent," he said.
Mainzer heads a four man unit that is making the rounds around all of Albemarle County's most heavily trafficked shopping centers. The team provides 12 hours of coverage a day up until Christmas, acting as a deterrent as well as lessening the burden on the County's patrol officers.
"We will be able to respond quickly to some of the complaints that originate in the shopping centers," Mainzer said.
In the end, police hope the extra patrols will make for a more enjoyable shopping experience.
"The main goal is to have or make the folks that are visiting these shopping centers feel safe and secure when they are out here," said Mainzer.
Police want to remind people to be sensible around shopping centers. You should always lock your car doors, keep valuables out of plain view and always be aware of your surroundings.