Valdosta police set up mobile precinct - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta police set up mobile precinct

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December 3, 2007

Valdosta - Each holiday season, police say they see an increase in burglaries, especially car break-ins, around Valdosta's busy shopping district.

"People leave their doors unlocked or they leave hot and valuable items in plain view," says Commander Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police Department.

Using their new mobile command vehicle, police are setting up shop, creating a mobile precinct in the parking lot of the Colonial Mall.

It will watch over all the shoppers visiting the stores that line Norman Drive.  "We are surveying this entire area over here. And I mean the entire complex. Best Buy, Books-a-million, Colonial Mall, Target, Kohls," Childress adds.

Police hope it will help curb these crimes using the command center's eye in the sky.

An officer will be manning the vehicle 24 hours a day, monitoring this surveillance camera that can zoom in over two miles away.  "If we see something going on in the camera, the officer can dispatch another officer, then watch and keep track of the offender until the patrol unit arrives so we can arrest that offender."

Shoppers say they feel better knowing that the Valdosta Police will always be watching.

"It's great knowing they are out here! I feel a lot safer with my daughter out here at the mall," says Harry Bowdren.

Shannon Chadwick agrees.  "I respect them as authority figures and look to them for protection so I'm very grateful for this!"

The mobile precinct will remain at the mall through December.

Police say they'll also beef up patrols in the area, especially at night.

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