Temple: Police start holiday patrols to prevent crime
TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The holiday shopping season is normally a highlight for many families as they purchase gifts for their loved ones. However, this week’s shooting at the Killeen Mall reminds us of the dangers that can happen as well.
Nearly a week after that shooting, the Temple police department and officers like Cody Close are taking the initiative by starting their holiday patrol shifts.
“The incident in Killeen was absolutely heartbreaking,” she said.
“Our purpose is to be there, if something were to happen, we’re already there and mobile. Especially around the holidays, you don’t know who’s where, what’re their intentions with you or the items you have? There’s little things you can do to protect yourself, but we’re here to help too.”
They don’t just look for potential shootings, either. They keep an eye out for thefts, people parking in handicapped spots, car hijackings and any suspicious activity.
“Sometimes people are looking for the opportunity to take something from somebody,” said Officer Gabriel Estrella.
“Either they leave their vehicle unlocked, they have a bunch of valuables inside the car and someone might try to break the window and take the stuff.”
“Please lock your doors, don’t keep weapons in your cars, hide your big-ticket items,” Close added.
“As soon as you buy those items, take them home. Otherwise, you’re turning yourself into a target.”
Unfortunately, the department has low staffing to cover shopping areas on top of their normal patrol spots, meaning many officers are taking extra shifts just to make things work. While they’re hopeful for more staffing in the future, Close says keeping families safe as they buy their loved ones gifts is all that matters.
“I love doing this,” she said.
“It’s usually a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it.”
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