Black Friday shoppers might notice an increased police presence in some of the county’s busiest shopping areas.
Beginning Friday through Dec. 23 the Montgomery County Police Department’s annual “Shop With a Cop” campaign will provide extra security in retail areas in all six county police districts, including three Silver Spring shopping areas.
Officers also will distribute 9,000 reusable bright yellow shopping bags, county police Chief J. Thomas Manger said at a news conference on Tuesday.
The bags have a drawing of a pair of eyes above the slogan “Can you see me now?” and are part of a Montgomery County pedestrian safety campaign also announced Tuesday.
Shop With a Cop is focused on making drivers aware of increased pedestrian holiday traffic in shopping center parking lots and urban retail districts and reminding shoppers of safety tips so that they don’t become victims of thefts, robberies or other crimes during the holiday shopping season.
Manger outlined tips, which he called “common sense efforts that we remind people [of] every year to make sure folks are not the victims of crimes.” They are:
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close as possible to the mall or store.
- Lock car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under vehicle seats.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash. Try to pay with checks or credit cards when possible.
- Don’t carry a large number of packages. Try to periodically store packages in the trunk of your vehicle, and then continue shopping.
- Carry closed purses as close to the body as possible.
- Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
- Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person and go toward an open store, restaurant or lighted house.
- Have car or house keys in hand before reaching the door.
- If someone does try to rob you, don’t resist. Give up your property—do not endanger your life. Report the crime to police as soon as possible, and try to describe the attacker accurately. Your rapid reporting of the incident may prevent others from becoming victims.
Shoppers can expect to see police officers at some of the county’s busiest shopping areas, including in:
- Aspen Hill: Aspen Hill Shopping Center.
- Briggs Chaney: Briggs Chaney MarketPlace.
- Bethesda: Shops in the Central Business District.
- Friendship Heights: Shops in the Central Business District.
- Gaithersburg: Lakeforest Mall and the Transit Center at Lakeforest Mall, The Off-Price Center and Gaithersburg Square Shopping Center.
- Germantown: Milestone Shopping Center.
- Montgomery Village: Montgomery Village Shopping Center.
- Potomac: Cabin John Shopping Center and Mall.
- Rockville: Congressional Plaza, Wintergreen Plaza, Federal Plaza and Fallsgrove Village Center.
- Downtown Silver Spring: City Place Mall.
- Wheaton: Westfield Wheaton and the shops at Randolph Road and Veirs Mill Road.
- White Oak: White Oak Shopping Center.