If you were among the thousands of diehard shoppers who hit the ground running at or the Cerritos Towne Center on Thanksgiving night, it was hard not to notice the increase in security and sheriff’s personnel almost everywhere you looked. But it’s all part of a plan to ensure that local shoppers and holiday revelers stay safe while shopping in the neighborhood this holiday season.
“We will have extra holiday enforcement going out starting Thanksgiving evening,” said Lt. Allen Castellano of the . “We may even have mounted patrol on horseback during Black Friday, so we’ll definitely have more visibility out there.”
No Incidents Reported During Overnight Shopping Rush
As part of the Los Cerritos Center’s and the start of Black Friday -- the busiest shopping day of the year -- eight members of the sheriff's station’s Special Assignment Team were deployed to popular shopping areas throughout Cerritos, including the Cerritos Mall, , , , and , said sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Quire.
“We saw a lot of people in lines at all the locations, but we were relieved things stayed quiet,” he said about 4 a.m. Friday, adding that there were no significant incidents reported during the overnight shopping frenzy.
Sheriff’s Volunteers to Help Educate Motorists
In anticipation for what will likely be one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, Castellano said volunteers with the Cerritos Sheriff's Station/Community Safety Center will be combing through the mall parking lot this weekend to help spread safety awareness among holiday shoppers, especially when it comes to deterring auto burglaries.
“They’ll be walking the parking lot looking for any vehicle that might be susceptible to a criminal attacking it,” Castellano said. “The volunteers will be looking for vehicles with visible packages or shopping bags left inside, or ones with unlocked doors. And when they see one, they’ll drop off a flyer on the window, giving a warning to that motorist.”
The lieutenant said information will also be left on the windows of SUVs to educate SUV owners on ways to prevent their third row seats from being stolen – a common theft that continues to escalate statewide.
“One of the tips is putting a lock on the third row seat so it can’t be taken,” Castellano said. “So we’re really putting a lot of focus on educating the public during this shopping season.”
Bike Patrols to Be Added As Part of Holiday Security
This year, part of the sheriff’s holiday presence will include deputies patrolling popular shopping centers and parking lots on 10 new sheriff’s bicycles.
“The bicycles are outfitted as patrol bikes with sirens and sheriff’s department stickers,” Castellano said, adding that deputies on bike patrol will have the ability to issue citations.
Castellano said station personnel will undergo bicycle training within the next week. “Once we get that training done, we’ll send them out to add another layer of visibility.”
How Can You Avoid Being a Victim of Theft This Holiday Season?
for a list of auto burglary and car theft prevention tips recently issued by the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center.