SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) – Parking lots are busy and stores are full as the last-minute shopping rush for Christmas picks up this week on the Eastern Shore.

“As there’s more people around I guess people get a little bit more brazen with their theft, or what they try to get away with,” said Spanish Fort Police Sgt. Steven Mooney.

Spanish Fort Police are watching places like the Eastern Shore Centre and surrounding stores closely increasing patrols, some on foot, to combat problems that seem to occur more during the holidays. This month they’re already noticing a trend.

“We do see an increase of property type crimes such as retail thefts and unlawful breaking into vehicles, that sort of thing,” he said.

In November of 2021 two thieves dressed in black on surveillance video cut a hole in the roof of the Best Buy store in Spanish Fort, spending two hours inside leaving with thousands of dollars worth of Apple products. That investigation continues and it’s another reason officers are monitoring larger stores this year around the clock. Police are partnering with several retail stores, able to access surveillance video remotely, giving officers a good view of what’s happening from above.

“They’re being seen as much as possible,” said Mooney. Police said the partnership with stores allows them to respond quickly when a crime does happen. It’s not just in stores or parking lots, though. Spanish Fort Police are seeing more aggressive drivers during the holidays near the Eastern Shore Centre.

“Just people getting into road rage incidents. We do see that,” he continued. The increased patrols and monitoring will continue through the new year.