The San Diego County Sheriff's Department increased patrols around shopping centers and parking lots this Black Friday and will continue stepped-up enforcement through Jan. 2.
The sheriff's Holiday Watch program, which started last week, was also set to include undercover operations as well as deputies working with county probation and state parole officers to identify ex-convicts in violation of their terms of release, sheriff's officials said.
"Criminals do not take the holidays off and neither will our deputies,'' Sheriff Bill Gore said.
A saturation patrol, in which all available deputies take part, was planned until 8 p.m. for Black Friday crowds near the Wal-Mart on University Avenue in Vista with a mobile command post nearby, sheriff's officials said.
Deputies and senior volunteers in San Marcos were set to patrol shopping centers including the Grand Plaza on S. Los Posas Road and the Nordahl Marketplace. A traffic detail was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. near a Wal-Mart on Center Drive.
Deputies and senior volunteers in Poway also scheduled stepped-up patrols Friday near the Wal-Mart complex near Community Road, the Target on Twin Peaks Road and around Old Poway Park.
Bike patrols near Main Street businesses in Ramona were under way along with horseback patrols in shopping center parking lots and surrounding areas.
Plain-clothed detectives planned details in shopping centers and apartment complexes in Alpine and sheriff's officials said a sign board advising shoppers to lock their doors, roll up windows and lock up valuables would remain on display until Dec. 28.
Extra patrols that targeted Black Friday crowds were also planned near shopping centers in Encinitas, Julian and Borrego Springs, sheriff's officials said.
Patrols aimed at curbing criminal activity at the Valley View, Harrah's Rincon, Pauma and Pala casinos were set to start Friday and run through New Year's Day, deputies said.
Sheriff's deputies asked anyone who sees suspicious activity to report it
by calling (858) 565-5200.