Southaven Police Kick Off Operation Christmas Presence

SOUTHAVEN, Miss (localmemphis.com) - The Black Friday frenzy has begun.

Mid-South malls and retail stores are crawling with Christmas shoppers and unfortunately criminals.  

While most of us will search for a good deal thieves will be looking for a good steal.

Southaven, Mississippi Police officers are working at Tanger Outlets to keep Black Friday alive by keeping the community safe.

Southaven Police has extra patrols, it's called Operation Christmas Presence. It starts Black Friday through Christmas Eve.

 There are more than a dozen additional officers out patrolling during the shopping season bringing the total number of officers to 30.

Southaven Police Sergeants Corey Merritt and Fred Sims were hired on the same day 13 years ago and have been partners ever since.

 "Catching criminals and protecting shoppers," said Sims.

 Merritt has a name for the duo. He said, "We're like the bad boys of Southaven."

 Sims and Merritt are on duty Black Friday at Tanger Outlet Mall.

 Places like Tanger are not only crawling with Christmas shoppers and criminals, ut also cops.

 It's Operation Christmas Presence. More than a dozen additional officers  will be patrolling Southaven to keep everyone safe.

"We'll have some that will be in plain clothes but if they come out to apprehend a criminal, they will have credentials to show that they are the police," said Sims.

 "We have criminals coming at every angle I mean north south east and west," said Merritt.

"Sims and Merritt patrol the parking lot in their squad cars but say they do their best work on two wheels.

"As you can see the traffic behind us it's like bumper to bumper and we can see a lot more on a bicycle than we can inside of our vehicles," Merritt said.

Sims added, "People just don't get it. You either work hard to go get it. But there's people who don't wanna work hard and get it and wanna take from everybody else. That's why we're here. We have somewhere we can take em to."

Sims and Merritt say good ole common sense goes a long way this time of year. Don't leave purses or bags visible inside a vehicle or unattended in a store. They encourage everyone to be extra vigilant and let the bad boys of Southaven handle the bad guys.

Meeritt warned, "There's a lot going on around you that you don't see. People are watching you whether you realize it or not."

"We want people to see us and know we're out here to keep them safe. And we want them to come shop and spend money in Southaven. And for criminals, we want them to see us also cause we're gonna get them out of Southaven, Mississippi," said Sims.

Southaven Police want to remind everyone of a couple of things.

 Don't leave items visible in your car. Put everything in the trunk or keep items hidden. Don't give thieves a reason to smash your windows and take what you've bought with your hard-earned money.

Also be patient. The lines are long and traffic can be a nightmare in some areas. Officers want you to have a happy holiday more importantly, a safe holiday.


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