Tampa PD patrolling mall parking lots, shopping areas during holidays

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Police Department started its Operation Secret Santa on Tuesday.

Police officers on foot, horseback, motorcycles and inside unmarked patrol cars will be patrolling mall parking lots and shopping areas.  The increased police presence sends a strong message to thieves that crime will not be tolerated.

While you’re in the mall looking for the perfect gift, criminals can be looking in your car windows.

“People come through these parking lots and they will see things in cars, they’ll see things in cars that are easy opportunities at this point,” said Captain Barry Moskowitz.

While criminals are looking for easy opportunities. more eyes are watching them.

“One of the big things we look for on horseback since we are so high above everything else  where we can see a far distance, we try and see if we can find people entering vehicles or casing out cars,” said TPD Officer John Kasprowicz.

TPD officers have been parking lot watching for more than ten years.  Their message is a simple one.

“You’ll be handcuffed and go to jail. That is the bottom line. We don’t want that happening. We want a safe season for everybody,” said Moskowitz.

Even TPD horses are working to keep you safe.

“You can’t outrun a horse. Normally it is a short foot pursuit. Usually they’ll run 50 or 60 yards and realize there’s no out running a horse,” said Kasprowicz.

A sense of security shoppers can appreciate.

“Definitely feel like there’s a presence when you see a live horse and I would think that if a

anybody is planning something they’re definitely looking around for no presence of anybody in uniform,” said Ana Santos.

Officers will be out patrolling the parking lot from now until Jan. 1.

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