Waterbury Police Bolster Presence at Shopping Centers Amid Rise in Thefts

NBC Universal, Inc.

With a week before Christmas, police departments are trying to increase their presence at shopping plazas to cut down on some of the thefts around the state.

Waterbury is increasing their police presence in shopping centers around the city to cut down on shoplifting and to protect shoppers.

Waterbury shoppers were out and on the hunt for the best gifts.

"It's been a lot, especially with two boys and like six nephews," said Daycus Parker, who was shopping on Friday night.

As shoppers hit the stores, so is Waterbury's police department. The agency is sending out officers to Brass Mill Center through Sunday as a way to reduce thefts and bolster their presence.

The officers are helping with the enforcement of the mall's parental guidance required program. The program requires anyone under the age of 18 to be accompanied by an adult after 5 p.m.

The police support is going a long way and it also makes shoppers feel comfortable, according to the police department.

“Any time you have additional police presence at a retail business, especially during the peak shopping times now, it helps to prevent those kind of crimes from occurring," said Lt. Ryan Bessette, who is the public information officer for the department.

"The officers' presence inside of the mall this time of year also provides a extra sense of security and safety for the busyness of shoppers," he continued.

Shoppers tell NBC Connecticut they think it's the right step to take after seeing videos of thieves wheeling out TVs and grabbing laundry detergent and paper towels.

"I think it's very valuable, especially with elderly people who are coming to shop," said Parker.

Police say there are steps you can take that can make a difference: Don't leave your valuables visible in your car, remember to lock your doors when going into a store and be aware of your surroundings.

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