Fresno police, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers gathered Wednesday at Fresno’s Fashion Fair shopping center to kick off the 21st annual Operation Christmas Presence, an effort to put extra officers at area shopping centers to increase safety and prevent holiday-related crime.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the goal is to make holiday shoppers feel more secure and to prevent crimes of opportunity by thieves and auto burglars.
Dyer said the season can attract “opportunists looking for unaware or distracted victims that they can steal from,” but at the same time he touted a 24 percent drop in burglaries and auto theft in the city in 2018.
Police on motorcycles, bicycles and horseback assembled at the presentation, which rotates yearly between the River Park, Fashion Fair and Fig Garden shopping centers.
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Shoppers were cautioned not to leave items in their cars while shopping and not to leave personal items in carts while shopping. The California Highway Patrol also issued a caution about drinking and driving.