Miami-Dade police increase patrols, mall security during holiday shopping season

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Miami-Dade Police Department will step up its patrols this week and is ramping up security at popular shopping centers for the beginning of holiday season shopping.

Miami-Dade police director Juan Perez said the department’s goal is to stop criminals before they strike.

"You will see tactical units being deployed to the malls in the form of special response teams, bomb detector K-9 units and you will see them at different malls at different times," Perez said. "It's going to be a guessing game for people trying to create harm in our malls."

Police said there are several things people can do to send crooks home with coal including, not leaving packages visible inside their vehicles, locking them in the trunk if possible and keeping items out of sight.

Women are urged to carry their purses close to them or keep their wallets in a front pocket.

"I try to leave stuff in the car after shopping to go straight home. It's a tough time close to Christmas," shopper Gustavo Marra said.

Police said shoppers should walk in parking lots or garages with their keys in their hands and take a friend or relative with them to shop.