More than just shoppers are going to stores on Black Friday, and the Richland police will be there too.
Officers are spending more time patrolling target areas high in thefts, shoplifting, vehicle prowls and collisions.
“During the holidays, we see a significant increase,” said Capt. Mike Cobb.
The Richland police are using a stratified model of policing, which uses analysis to determine the areas where crime is more likely to occur and lists of convicted criminals who are estimated to offend again, Cobb said.
Areas prone to thefts and collisions are around Kohl’s, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Washington Plaza, he said.
The analysis helps police captains make the most of their available resources to combat crime. Measures taken include conducting high-visibility patrols to show a police presence in parking lots and stores, using undercover officers and volunteers, and asking the public to call and report suspicious behavior.
“Some offender management goes into it as well,” Cobb said. “We have a very small percentage of our population creating a very high percentage of our crimes.”
Cobb asks people to avoid leaving things in cars and call 911 when seeing something suspicious.
Reporting bad drivers can help reduce the number of people injured during the holiday. The four most common causes of vehicle collisions are speed, distracted driving, failing to signal and failure to yield, Cobb said.
All of the calls are subject to “relentless follow-up” by Richland police to catch criminals and help improve the data used for analyses in the future, Cobb said.
If people see anything dangerous or suspicious, they are asked to call 911 or 509-628-0333.
“They don’t have to break into a car. They could be peering into one … we want to intercept them before it becomes a crime,” he said.