KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The holiday season is a hectic time for merchants as shoppers keep their cash registers ringing. But police say busy businesses often are unaware that robbers and thieves also are more active this time of year.
For the last month, community police officers in Kansas City, Kansas, have been inspecting stores, giving operators advise on lighting, cameras and visibility. Police say these issues can deter a criminal from trying to steal.
"They've placed the camera up here which allows people as they exit the store to be seen," observed KCK police Sgt. Darryl Moore during a visit to Strasser Hardware.
Moore likes what he sees at the retailer. He's not looking at tools, Christmas decorations or other merchandise. Instead, he's focused on the doorways, the number of workers and surveillance cameras. He says all are important in preventing robbers from targeting a busy business.
"Typically there's always going to be an increase around this time of year because of the holiday season," Moore said. "People are vulnerable. That's why we, the police department, want to make sure that at this time of year we make our citizens aware of potential dangers that exist."
A few years ago, Strasser changed the entrance to it's store, adding big windows and glass doorways that overlook the parking lot. There's now a separate entrance and exit, with a customer service station nearby and cash registers in an open area. Police say it's nearly impossible for anything to happen without someone taking notice.
"We want to know what's going on," said Leroy Andrews, general manager of the store. "So we have surveillance cameras throughout the store, in the parking lot, all the way up front in here. If anything does happen we're able to track down and see what happens."
Moore says it takes a team effort to prevent robberies. And working with merchants to increase awareness of who's around their shops can help ensure the holidays remain a safe season for everyone.
Police say when criminals do strike, do not try to fight them. Instead try to provide the best possible description for police to track them down.