San Diego authorities increase patrols around local shopping centers

Enforcement to last through Jan. 2

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Sheriff's Department increased patrols around shopping centers and parking lots this Black Friday and will continue stepped-up enforcement through Jan. 2.

The sheriff's Holiday Watch program, which started last week, was also set to include undercover operations as well as deputies working with county probation and state parole officers to identify ex-convicts in violation of their terms of release, sheriff's officials said.

"Criminals do not take the holidays off and neither will our deputies," Sheriff Bill Gore said.

A saturation patrol -- meaning all available deputies -- was planned until 8 p.m. for Black Friday crowds near the Wal-Mart on University Avenue in Vista with a mobile command post nearby, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies and senior volunteers in San Marcos were set to patrol shopping centers including the Grand Plaza on S. Los Posas Road and the Nordahl Marketplace. A traffic detail was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. near a Wal-Mart on Center Drive.

Deputies and senior volunteers in Poway also scheduled stepped-up patrols today near the Wal-Mart complex near Community Road, the Target on Twin Peaks Road and around Old Poway Park.

Bike patrols near Main Street businesses in Ramona were under way along with horseback patrols in shopping center parking lots and surrounding areas.

Plain-clothed detectives planned details in shopping centers and apartment complexes in Alpine and sheriff's officials said a sign board advising shoppers to lock their doors, roll up windows and lock up valuables would remain on display until Dec. 28.

Extra patrols that targeted Black Friday crowds were also planned near shopping centers in Encinitas, Julian and Borrego Springs, sheriff's officials said.

Patrols aimed at curbing criminal activity at area casinos -- Valley View, Harrah's Rincon, Pauma and Pala -- were set to start Friday and run through New Year's Day, deputies said.

10News caught up with Shatia Moore-Glenn as she was leaving the Target store at Grossmont Center for the second time on Black Friday. It took some work to stuff even more bags into her trunk because Black Friday is her day to knock shopping off the Christmas List.

"The bulk of it's today," Moore-Glenn said. "Because of the savings; you want to save as much as you can so today you go for the savings."

Hours earlier, in the same Grossmont Center parking lot, a truck was broken into and La Mesa police arrested two people linked to the break-in.

Grossmont Center is also where four women have had their purses stolen in the past two months.

"That's kind of scary," Moore-Glenn said. "I think people should double up when they go shopping just to be safe."

Moore-Glenn said she drags her husband along and has some security measures in place.

"Well, my car has OnStar so my car … they can find it quickly," she added.

In El Cajon, observation towers keep watch from overhead and on the ground, and there is something else not normally seen.

Ralph and Chism patrol the parking lots, but they are horses. They help mounted El Cajon police Officer Gerald Moss get a better vantage point.

"We're trying to keep the area safe," Moss said while sitting on Chism. "People see us. We can be seen across the parking lot and if there are potential criminals here, they might think about going somewhere else."

As for Moore-Glenn, she sure seemed to have the holiday spirit.

"If they do [steal], I look at it as that person probably needed it more than I do and I just have to start over," said Moore-Glenn.

Sheriff's deputies asked anyone who see suspicious activity to report it by calling (858) 565-5200.

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