SALISBURY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Salisbury Police are now adding new ways to catch the bad guys as holiday shopping is in full-swing, and it's a ripe opportunity for criminals.
The program is called Operation Santa Patrol, a strategic, crime reduction plan for targeted residential and commercial business areas.
"When an officer spends 15 minutes in an area they can prevent criminal activity for upwards of an hour,” Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes said.
Chief Stokes says his officers are out in full force. They're using drones for bird's eye view surveillance and decoy vehicles to catch the bad guys.
"We'll put our vehicle that we're monitoring in a parking lot, we might put something of value in there and leave the doors unlocked which unfortunately happens to citizens when they're victimized. we're watching our vehicle so if someone comes to our vehicle and goes in, we can make an arrest."
He says the department is already seeing results.
"Based on our comparison of numbers, we're seeing decreases and results from being in areas where we've traditionally had problems."
Chief Stokes says problem areas include shopping centers and neighborhoods hit hard with burglaries.
"They will see us using our steady blues. in other words, instead of the flashing blue lights on top of the marked cars, we'll have them on steady. that's to draw attention so people will know the patrol vehicle is passing through the neighborhood or shopping center. nothing special is going on, just bringing more attention to the officer being there."
The detail will feature 12-hour shifts on seven days of the week, the deployment of drones in public spaces only as a deterrent to crime, bait and decoy vehicles, foot patrols and plain clothes operations as needed.