APD increasing patrols at promenade during holiday season

By BRIANA H. WILSON / Staff Writer

ALABASTER – In an effort to deter criminal activity during the Christmas season, the Alabaster Police Department has increased its presence at the Propst Promenade and South Promenade by about 300 percent, the department announced on Dec. 3.

“Uniformed officers will be present conducting roaming patrols and foot patrols to ease the minds of shoppers,” read the APD statement. “These uniformed officers will be on foot inside and outside of the businesses.”

APD has non-uniformed officers working during the holidays. These officers are also conducting roaming and foot patrols to curb any criminal activity inside the businesses and in the parking lots.

“While criminal activity overall is generally rare in Alabaster, there is, unfortunately, a trend of increasing criminal activity during the Christmas holidays,” the statement reads. “APD will be taking an active stance to prevent and address any issues at the promenades proactively.”

Residents are asked to report suspicious people or activity to law enforcement immediately.

The APD has also issued the following safety tips for all holiday shoppers:

-Be aware of your surroundings when you are in any area. Reduce distractions, such as using a cell phone, while walking to your car.

-Always park in well-lit areas and shop in pairs.
– Do not leave packages, phones, purses or any other items of value in your parked car where they can be seen. Always conceal these items.
– Make sure purses and wallets are secure on your person and that you are aware of their location at all times.

-Limit the number of valuables you carry to minimize potential loss.
– Do not flash large amounts of cash when paying for merchandise.

-Keep the amount of available cash you have at a minimum or separate it into different pockets, this way all of it is not lost if your purse/wallet is lost or stolen.
– Make sure to always lock your vehicle and make sure the windows are up when unattended. The number of thefts from locked vehicles in this area is extremely low.
– Double check that you have your credit/debit cards after you pay for your items.

-Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
– When shopping online, shop with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you’re not familiar with it.
– If possible, try to be sure you, someone from your family or a trusted neighbor is home when a purchase is being delivered.

-Always accompany children to the restroom. If you feel your child is responsible enough to go inside the restroom alone, make sure you wait outside the door for them to return.

-Don’t dress kids in clothing with their names on them. This type of clothing allows predators to call your child be name, and a child might not recognize the person as a threat.

-If you allow your children to walk around the store without you, make sure they have a friend with them. Designate a meeting place and have your child frequently check in with you in person at the desired location.

-Teach your children what to do if they become separated from you while shopping. Make sure they know to stay where they are when the realize they’re lost. They should never leave the store to go looking for their parents. Kids should be able to identify police officers, security guards and store personnel who can help them. Make sure your children know your name (not just mommy and daddy), cell phone number and their address.