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More Arkansas police patrolling stores in hopes to stop holiday burglaries

As we continue through the holiday season, police are doing what they can to prevent crime, but local businesses took a big hit this weekend.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's no secret that the holiday season is the target time for crimes against businesses.

Little Rock Police Department said robberies have been trending upward since October and now they are trying to combat these things from happening this year.

With Christmas just four weeks away, LRPD are already expecting businesses to be targeted by criminals.

"I mean, obviously with the holiday season, people are buying gifts," Sergeant Eric Barnes said.

He said now until Christmas, officers will increase their patrol schedule so they can be more visible near stores. 

"We will change the way we operate, [and] we'll have officers that are doing rover patrols through parking lots just to particular shopping centers," Barnes said. 

Making sure shoppers feel safe is most important for police in Conway as well.

Lacey Kanipe is the public information officer with the CPD and she said the department has already started is "shop safe" program.

"Extra officers are assigned to our popular shopping centers during business hours. Officers will stay long enough for employees of those businesses to safely exit the buildings," Kanipe said.

She said that the program has been around for at least seven years.

"We increase the patrol so the officers that are part of the shop safe, they're not actually on the normal patrol. These are extra officers that we employ during the holidays, so Thanksgiving to Christmas," Kanipe said. "Our goal is really to be seen, and especially at nighttime."

While Sargent Barnes is hopeful no store has to go through a robbery or theft, he adds that businesses should create a plan if they are expecting a large crowd of people.

Employees should also find ways to limit any possibility of being robbed.

"Coordinate with other stores, walk out together," Barnes said. "Keeping your lights on the night inside your store. You know, that way your surveillance camera picks up anyone that may injure you."

North Little Rock police said they have not seen an uptick in robberies at businesses, but they are increasing patrols in parking lots near malls. 

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