Local law enforcement increasing patrol around shopping centers during holiday season

Tukwila, WA. – With the holidays approaching western Washington, law enforcement agencies across the Puget Sound are increasing patrols around shopping centers.

Tukwila police say they will have more officers on foot, on bikes, and in vehicles both in and around the Southcenter Mall in addition to their normal patrol division staffing, according to the department’s public information officer. The increased security is part of their yearly plans during the holidays, but this comes after a deadly shooting in a parking garage where a couple accidentally stumbled upon a car prowling operation. Crime experts say any sort of property or retail theft can escalate quickly.

“You know, like what happened the other night where they were prowling other cars and somebody had a gun and a car prowl and theft turns into a homicide,” Jim Fuda with Crime Stoppers said.

Renton police will also have more patrols around shopping areas like the Landing to ensure safety for shoppers and businesses. Public Information Officer Sandra Havlik says the physical presence of police can deter criminals.

“We talk about peeling an onion; there’re different layers of deterrents, right? Whether you see cameras, even customer service can be a good deterrent when someone walks into a store,” Havlik said.

Police say the best thing people can do during the holiday season is to always be aware of their surroundings.

“Know where your car is parked. Pay attention to your surroundings when you are walking out to your car at night and try not to go alone,” Fuda said.

KIRO 7 asked Tukwila police if they could go further on the record about these plans, but they did not have someone available. Westfield Southcenter GM Arta Baharmast told KIRO 7 all inquiries regarding public safety should be directed to the Tukwila Police Department and the mall had no further comment at this time.