Meridian, Miss. The holiday season is just kicking off. But an increase in shoppers typically means an increase in crime. This year, Meridian Mayor Percy Bland says the police department is pulling out all the stops to keep you safer while you're out.
"We will be using our resources and giving the guys even overtime, so that we have a number of people in the communities and also in the mall areas," said Bland.
Many of the shoppers we spoke to said an increased police presence will make them feel much safer.
"I think that will be a good thing to have around,: said Clint McMullan of Enterprise. "Instead of having more criminal activity around, I think they would definitely be dissuaded from doing what they normally do."
The MPD says this time of year, officers see an increase in crime, particularly in shopping areas. Auto burglaries and purse snatchings are at a high around the mall. But many shoppers don't think about it.
"I really haven't," said Elaine McKee of Gilbertown. "My friends are telling me all the time that I'm not cautious enough. I just don't think about it. I know I should, but I just don't think that much about it. I think I will this season. I've heard so much about crime, so I think I will."
Remember, increased patrols doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions while you're out.
"If it's possible, I try to park in more lighted areas," said Dana Sowell of Gilbertown. "Of course, we all like to park as close to the door as we can to help prevent those kind of things."
Police also suggest having your keys ready before you leave a store. They say most criminals go through parking lots looking for something valuable inside a vehicle that they can quickly grab. So you're advised to keep valuables in the trunk and out of sight.