CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) – SkyWatch is just what it says. It’s a way for the Clearwater Police Department and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to keep an up high eye on customers at Countryside Mall.
“It’s a plus for here because it gives us a good overall view of the parking lot,” said Officer Michael Hatch.
“This morning we had a guy that was riding around on a bicycle looking at cars. It was easier for us to pick him up at a greater distance and direct other officers to try to interact with him.”
Skywatch has been around since 2012. It was obtained through a Department of Homeland Security grant. However, it’s not just from the air. The police have a very strong presence on the ground. The bike units are out and police cars are roaming the lot. But officers said, truly the crime deterrent is you.
“It is amazing to me how many people I ask, ‘was their door locked?’ They’re like I never lock my door.”
Michael Osei-Owusu and his family visited Countryside today to go to the new Nordstrom Rack.
Today and always, they said they are vigilant of people and things around them when they shop.
“I just make sure I’m aware of my surroundings and everything,” he said.
And as they take precautions, so too does the Clearwater Police Department… with their eye in the sky, watching over.
“We are out here as a supplement, but there is no supplement for maintaining your own responsibility,” Officer Hatch said.