Volunteers to patrol malls during holidays

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Many malls are bracing for big crowds with the holiday shopping season here, and Henrico Police are asking for your help to make it safe.

Police are looking for volunteers to patrol some local malls on the weekend. They say they can't be everywhere and they'll take all the help they can get.

Police say many thefts at local malls this time of year are crimes of opportunity. Lieutenant Jim Price says there will be plenty of opportunities with the rush of holiday shoppers.

"Persons have a lot on their mind," Lt. Price said. "They're moving from one point to another, they have a lot of packages."

Now you have the chance to be an honorary mall cop of sorts.

The volunteers patrolling the mall won't be able to make any arrests, but they might prevent a theft from happening in the first place.

"They're there to provide those extra eyes and ears for us without putting themselves in harm's way," he said. "(They will be) calling in anything they see suspicious."

About a dozen people will be stationed at five malls across Henrico. Those volunteers will keep an eye out for packages and shopping bags left unattended or anything that just doesn't look right.

"Somebody suspicious that might be moving in and out of parked cars," Price said. "They call it in."

These volunteers won't be hiding inside the mall. You'll be able to see them pretty easily. They'll be wearing reflector jackets.

Police say it's best just to lock your holiday presents in the car out of sight. You should also keep an eye on the other people at the mall - not everyone may be there to shop.

"If someone is paying too much mind to you, be leery of that individual," he said. "Walk together with other people."

You can call Henrico Police at 501-4856 if you'd like to volunteer.

Volunteers will be at the following malls on the following weekends:

November 26 - Short Pump Mall and The Shops at White Oak

December 2 and 3 - Virginia Center Commons Mall

December 9 and 10 - Short Pump Town Center

December 16 and 17 - The Shops at Willow Lawn

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