Northeast Tarrant

Southlake’s holiday safety initiative works

Southlake had a happy holiday season in terms of safety.

The police department credited a safety initiative put in place during winter holidays, when shopping peaks.

“It makes us very happy,” said James Brandon, assistant police chief. “It takes a partnership between the police department, volunteers and Town Square management.”

From Nov. 29, 2013 to Jan. 4, 2014, the city saw lower crime than in previous years with no reported robberies, no building burglaries, two vehicle burglaries and 12 thefts that were resolved with 12 arrests.

The city has increased its presence during the Christmas season for about seven years.

Last holiday season, the city saw three robberies, one burglary of building, three vehicle burglaries and 13 thefts.

Starting at the end of Thanksgiving and continuing past the new year, the police and safety volunteers increase patrols around shopping districts, including motorcycles, foot and bike patrols and police watch towers.

Citizens on Patrol participated and also worked to educate drivers on anti-vehicle theft practices.

The volunteers graded shoppers’ abilities to hide their valuables, lock their vehicles and take their keys. They would then leave a report card along with safety tips on windshields.

Even the Grinch got in on the action. Volunteers would dress as the famous Christmas character to hand out safety brochures to younger shoppers.

Brandon said the police department uses crime statistics and strategic planning to make sure patrols are out in the right areas at the right times.

He said local businesses cooperated with the department when it came to gathering information from the stores’ previous experiences.