(SAVANNAH) The countdown to the height of the holiday season means it’s time for the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police to ramp up their Jingle Bell Patrols. The annual program beefs up protection for holiday shoppers and the merchants they frequent by putting more officers on the streets. Major Larry Branson, Commander of the Patrol Division, says Jingle Bell Patrols are no limited to select sections of Savannah. “Each precinct captain will be addressing the particular needs in their particular precinct, uh, we’ve been very successful. We’ve don’t this a number of years.” Branson said.
The program has a proven track record. In the 2013 – 2014 holiday shopping season, Jingle Bell Patrols are credited with a 26% reduction in the number of auto entering cases in Savannah. Branson hopes to build on those numbers this year as officers look to stop people who might rob shoppers or merchants, break into vehicles, or shoplift. ” We will be out in strength, in numbers to assure that this is a safe holiday season.” said Branson. He adds that the added officers do no take away from day-to-day crime fighting duties. Jingle Bell Patrols are overtime shifts for the officers, both uniformed and plainclothes.
The program starts small and grows in terms of manpower the deeper we get into the holiday shopping season.” Plainclothes, uniformed, everyone will be out. It is an opportunity for the officers to earn overtime…over and above their normal duties so that we will not take away from any particular detail, either in the investigative unit or in the patrol division, or in the special operations division.” Branson said. He says the officers will be in patrol cars, bicycles, foot patrols, and even on segues, for the added protection during the holidays.