RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A new, initiative is underway to keep you and your favorite stores safe this holiday shopping season. Richmond police officers are identifying specific shopping areas where criminals may be looking for targets among the many holiday shoppers.
Officers are ditching their usual patrol cars and hitting the streets on foot, bike and segway. They're looking for personal contact with shoppers and business owners-- handing out cards with the tips you need to stay safe.
"Pretty much everybody across the board has been happy to see us, excited to see us," said Richmond Police Officer Chelsea Ferguson.
Store owners and citizens, excited they'll be able to interact with officers out of their patrol cars. Officer Ferguson's beat runs along Grace and Broad Streets downtown.
"It's a lot easier to drive by something and not see what is actually happening when you're in a police car," said Ferguson.
In certain commercial corridors, officers are braving the elements and looking for what crooks could see as vulnerabilities.
"From very small things, to the very biggest things," she said.
Huge smiles greeted Ferguson when she walked into Waller and Company. The jewelry store has been in downtown since 1980 and owners can't wait to get to know their local police.
"You feel you have a better response if there ever is a problem. You already know your different officers in your community," said David Waller, Waller and Co. Jewelers.
Now, RPD is hoping a very visible presence will keep any scrooges from ruining the holiday cheer. There is a lot of information Richmond police are hoping you'll keep in mind when heading out to buy your holiday presents. We've put some tips on our website, just click here.