NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When the biggest retailers open for holiday shopping Metro police’s aviation unit will be in the air and horses will be helping watching parking lots and the roads.
“We have been flying all the major shopping centers and high pedestrian areas to look for breaking into cars and shoplifting,” Sgt. Kurt Knapp explained. “We are looking for any criminal activity that may be a foot in the area.”
The helicopters can fly at a maximum spread of 140 knots, or 140 mph on land, and are able to hoover 500 feet above the ground.
“Take Opry Mills mall for example,” Sgt. Knapp said. “We can see the entire parking lot. We will look through all the parking lots, including the exits and entries for anything suspicious or out of place.”
Aviation officers are equipped with FLIR thermal imaging cameras and night vision googles.
It allows officers to see what is happening on the ground, even in the dead of night.
Metro police told News 2 car break-ins increase during the holiday season because people store gifts in their car as they shop.
Officers remind shoppers to park smart and shop smart.
The PARK SMART campaign reminds drivers to lock their vehicle doors, secure valuables and take your keys with you.
The SHOP SMART campaign reminds shoppers not to leave purses or other valuables unattended in shopping carts or in plain view in vehicles.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity should report it to police.
“If you see someone looking in cars or you see someone that could be leading to an active shooter situation, that we have now a days, you need to tell someone so we can look at it,” Sgt. Knapp said. “Our relationship with the community is paramount to our success at the police department.”
Metro police will also use its mounted patrol for Black Friday shopping.