D'Iberville police met with merchants last week and drew up a security plan that includes the new Academy Sports and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Store, the new roads, and the lessons learned from past years. Extra officers will be out through the holidays and Deputy Chief Clay Jones said, "Shoppers should expect to see uniformed officers in and around our stores and in parking lots throughout the city."
Plainclothes officers will be patrolling D'Iberville shopping areas in unmarked cars and will be stationed in some of the stores during the big openings.
This is the first Christmas shopping season in a while that there won't be any road construction near the shopping centers in D'Iberville. All the new ramps will be open and Jones suggests shoppers use the new access ramps to D'Iberville Boulevard, Lamey Bridge Road, the new Popp's Ferry Road extension and Big Ridge Road. Those coming west on Interstate 10 now can get off at Lamey Bridge Road to reach the movie theater or the Lakeview stores. Those heading toward Gulfport after shopping at The Promenade can use the center's rear entrance to easily reach I-10 westbound.
D'Iberville also uses reserve officers, who are trained and certified volunteers, to augment its police force through the holidays.
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"Public safety in general is a really important part of economic development," Clay said. He wants people shopping in D'Iberville to see the officers out working to keep them safe and to know the police are approachable if there are any problems.
He said people can help make shopping safer by following these tips:
Lock packages in the trunk of your car or somewhere out of sight.
Don't overload yourself with packages.
If you shop in the evening, shop with a friend.
Park in a well-lit area, as close as possible to store entrances.
Be particularly aware of people in the parking lot, especially near your car.
Lock your car and make sure your windows are closed.
Carry only charge cards you will need. Don't flash or carry large amounts of cash.
Carry your purse next to your body with the purse flap against you. Men should carry their wallets in front or inside pockets.
Teach your children to go to a police officer, store clerk or security guard and ask for help if they become separated in a store.
Notify police or store security if you see suspicious activity.
If you have to wait for a ride, wait in a busy, well-lit place.
If you are a victim of a crime, report it to police immediately.