The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office has launched its annual Robbery Prevention Mobilization in an effort to deter crime and assist shoppers.
For many, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also a time when some could be taken advantage of if they aren't hyper-vigilant as they are out and about.
For the 13th year, deputies began setting up in the parking lot of Prien Lake Mall on Black Friday and will be at that location through Dec. 26, seven days a week from noon until one hour past the mall closing.
Deputies are on marked ATVs and will patrol cars in the parking lot, as well as man the CPSO Mobile Command Center located in the front parking lot of the mall on Prien Lake Road. Deputies, who will be wearing orange Sheriff's Office traffic vests during the evening hours, will be available to assist shoppers with such things as helping them find their car, jump staring their vehicle if they have a dead battery, changing a flat tire, assisting employees and shoppers by walking them to their car after dark, or any other assistance they can provide.
"The CPSO Robbery Prevention Mobilization has always been instrumental in, not only assisting shoppers with their problems and concerns, but keeping crime to a minimum at a time of year when it is usually on the rise," Sheriff Tony Mancuso said. "We are very pleased to be able to offer this service to the public."
CPSO deputies are not hired by the mall nor will they be doing security for the mall. However, the presence of law enforcement on the premises is expected to deter crime in the parking lot, according to authorities.
Deputies will also be conducting regular visits to all convenience stores in the parish during the holiday season to check with store clerks and see if they are experiencing any problems or have any special needs.
Also, deputies will be conducting the same checks with store clerks at businesses in the Southgate Shopping Center on Ryan Street, the Power Center on La. 14, and the Target Shopping Center on Prien Lake Road.