MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Miami-Dade Police Department kicked off its annual holiday crime initiative, known as Operation Grinch Busters, with a stern warning Monday.

"This is a message for the criminals: We'll be out in full force protecting the residents of Miami-Dade County," Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez said. 

Perez said people can expect to see more officers in malls, shopping centers and other public places with higher traffic for the holidays. 

"We're gonna have an increased level of patrol, uniform and undercover, as well," Perez said. "We know robbers, thieves and pickpockets will be out. We'll do our part, but it takes all of us to keep the community safe."

"Reality is, we need your help to be our eyes and ears," MDPD Homeland Security Unit Maj. Brian Rafky said.  

On Monday, Local 10 News reporter Liane Morejon rode along with Miami-Dade police Officer Jay Vega, who said there are steps you should take to avoid becoming a target. 

"Be aware of your surroundings at all times. When you shop, don't leave items visible in your vehicle. When you walk to your car, be aware if someone's following you," he said. 

"This holiday season, if you see something, say something," Rafky said.

Police are also preparing for the possibility of an active shooter, reminding us to run, hide or fight in case it happens. 

"That's what we do if there's an active shooter," Perez said. "Don't stop. Run. If you can’t, hide. If you can't, fight for your life."