The Hialeah Police Department kicked off a month-long campaign on Wednesday to keep shoppers safe, a campaign built around the fact that nearly two years into the pandemic, a record number of people are traveling again and going back to shopping malls.
“We want them to come out and enjoy the restaurants and the amenities of our commercial establishments. Quite frankly we want our residents and those that visit us to spend their money so they can help Santa Claus, a reality for many of the children in our community. But we want them to do it in a safe way,” Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo said.
Much of the police presence at malls and restaurants in Hialeah will go unnoticed by design. The city’s police chief didn’t want to get into the number of extra officers, but said suppression teams will work around the clock through Christmas.
“The task force will consist of additional officials from different units within the department,” Hialeah Police Department Chief George Fuente said. “Additional patrol officers, K9s, community response team officers, motorcycle, and unmarked units also will be working the detail.”
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Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping season and this year, authorities want people to pay extra attention to what you’re wearing instead of what you’re buying.
Last month, two men followed a couple around Aventura Mall and waited for them to have dinner before robbing them at gunpoint in a parking garage.
The couple didn’t buy anything, but one of them was wearing a gold bracelet worth nearly $10,000.
“Be cognizant of the fact that other people are seeing what you are carrying,” Fuente said.
Police are also reminding folks to always shop with a friend, avoid stores at night, and never leave items in your car.