Tulsa police to increase Black Friday patrols
BY AMANDA BLAND & ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writers
Monday, November 19, 2012
11/19/12 at 8:05 AM
As shoppers brave the chaos and cold on Black Friday, area police officers will be increasing patrols in popular retail areas to ensure safety and expedite calls for service.
The Tulsa Police Department's Safe Shopper program launches Friday in areas such as 41st Street and Yale Avenue, 21st Street and Yale Avenue, Tulsa Hills and 96th Street and Delaware Avenue.
"Every year our program gets more and more popular with our retailers and our citizens," said program coordinator and Tulsa Police Sgt. Laura Fadem.
About 25 additional officers and 10 reserve officers patrol the city's busiest retail centers in an effort to deter crime.
"We have a constant police presence" during the program, which is a big deterrent to would-be criminals, Fadem said.
The department experiences increases in burglaries from vehicles, auto thefts and other property crimes during the holiday season; however, there were no burglaries from vehicles in Safe Shopper zones last year, she said.
Officers working the program are also available to respond quickly to nearby collisions or requests to assist people in need, which keeps other officers on the streets and reduces overtime costs, she said.
The increased visibility of police officers, she warned, does not negate the immediacy of 911, though.
"We want the citizens to know that 911 is their first option if something happens. Calls will be dispatched out ... and officers will be able to respond quickly."
Owasso Deputy Police Chief Scott Chambless said his agency will also focus on being visible in shopping areas.
Beginning on Thanksgiving, extra officers will patrol Owasso's major shopping areas on foot, in police cars and possibly even Segways, he said.
"The officers are there to provide that safe shopping experience that I think Owasso has become known for," he said.
"The idea is that the officers are in the area to discourage anybody who might be tempted to break into cars, as well as to discourage shoplifting."
Broken Arrow police Cpl. Leon Calhoun said his agency will send extra officers to popular shopping areas, as well.
The agency is encouraging shoppers to develop safe vehicle habits, such as parking in lighted areas, keeping vehicles locked and putting valuables in the trunk or out of sight, he said.
He said shoppers should go with a friend or family member if they shop at night and should remain alert of their surroundings at all times. It is preferable not to carry a purse or wallet, which are prime targets for thieves, he said.
Broken Arrow police are also encouraging shoppers not to post on social media that they will not be home and to take precautions against burglaries. Police advise keeping gifts out of sight and leaving the lights on.
Original Print Headline: Black Friday patrols grow
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486