The Safe Shop program by Huntsville Police appears to be keeping crime at bay as we enter the home stretch to Christmas. Officers are working overtime to monitor parking lots and stores and have only had five incidents this holiday season in shopping areas. The department said it credits officers being visible to deterring crime.
Hunter Conn who works in Huntsville said he is always aware when he's out shopping.
"You know there are nuts out there that are going to try to get you so you got to be on the offense," he said.
Huntsville Police say most people aren't paying attention, and that's where having extra officers on patrol helps.
"Nine times out of ten nobody is paying attention to what's going on around them, so we kind of step in and do that," Officer Charles Draper said.
Last year 10 reports were written for stealing, panhandling, using other peoples' cards and getting into fights inside stores, according to police.
"They're trying to get the best deal on different stuff like that, so they're probably not looking and watching their surroundings and stuff," Conn added.
Officer Draper said not only do shoppers feel safer, but working the overtime also makes the holiday a little easier financially on his family.
"I've done it 4 or 5 times this year. It's a bonus to have a little extra coming in to help offset the holiday bills," he said.
Conn said it helps knowing his mom is safe when she's out doing her holiday shopping.
"It does worry me as far as my mother getting out like that, but she's kinda a pistol and I think she could handle it," he said.
Huntsville Police will continue to allow officers to work overtime in shopping areas through the new year. Although the program is helping prevent crime, they want everyone to stay alert.