Police increase holiday patrols

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

This holiday season the Selma Police Department will beef up its patrol of area businesses to ensure the safety of shoppers and protect stores from possible theft.

Capt. Anita Barlow said citizens should expect to see a “high visibility of uniformed officers” around Selma shopping malls and the downtown business district.

“In addition,” Barlow said. “The police department will be closely monitoring service stations and convenience stores as well as other businesses.”

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The focus on service stations and convenience stores this year, Barlow says, are due to some recent robberies.

Barlow said there is always an increase in theft during holiday season and there are many things business owners can do to protect their stores.

Convenience stores and other businesses, she says, are urged to utilize drop safes as well as refrain from having excessive amounts of currency.

“We are also asking businesses to post signs informing their customers that only a certain amount of currency will be in the store at any given time,” Barlow said.

She further advises storeowners to always have two or more employees in the store during peak hours.

After closing, Barlow said, stores should be kept well lit in order for officers who might be patrolling to see inside.

Barlow added that the police department would provide an escort service to the bank for any businesses that need to make deposits.

“Never fail to call police to have suspicious persons checked out,” she said.

Other theft-prevention tips provided by the Better Business Bureau include:

Shelves should be kept low in order for staff to monitor the store from a central location. Elevate the floor behind the cash register and install mirrors.

Install store surveillance. Even a fake camera will help deter theft.

Remove debris or bricks from the store’s perimeter that

could be used to break a window.

Back up computer information on a daily basis.

Mark office equipment with identification engravings.

Remove posters or signs that reduce visibility into the store.

Anyone with information on recent armed robberies and other unsolved crimes, Barlow said, are asked to call the Secret Witness Line at 334-874-2190 or Crime Stoppers at 334-1866-442-7463.