Police Department Announces Holiday Shoplifting Action Plan (HSAP)

Police Chief James M. Spinney announced that the Chelmsford Police Department is implementing a "Holiday Shoplifting Action Plan" or HSAP, to ensure that the town's shopping centers do not become magnets for crime during the holiday weeks.

"Shoppers are not the only ones in Chelmsford with a plan to tackle this holiday season,” said Spinney. “The Chelmsford Police Department also has a plan to reduce the amount of holiday-related crime this year. It is our responsibility to keep everyone in Chelmsford safe and make sure they have a happy holiday, and the Holiday Shoplifting Action Plan does just that."

Over the next few weeks, the Chelmsford Police Department will have a high-visibility police presence in holiday shopping areas that pose the potential for shoplifting and other crimes. Investigators will identify the criminal element and trends to apprehend criminals, and deploy available resources in an effective manner to increase public safety and security.

The purpose is to reduce all types of holiday-related crime, including breaking and entering into motor vehicles, purse snatching, robbery, and traffic and parking related problems.

"One of the biggest problems with shoplifting is that it brings criminals into our community,” said Chelmsford Deputy Police Chief Daniel Ahern. “These people are often not just grabbing and going -- they may break into cars, buy and sell drugs, or drive under the influence. It is all connected, and it creates a pattern of crime."

Chelmsford residents may notice an increased police presence at the town’s shopping centers but should not be alarmed. The Police Department is targeting the Chelmsford Mall/Chelmsford Street, East Gate Plaza, Summer Street/Central Square, and the Walmart Plaza/Drum Hill. Other areas may be designated as well. 

Officers are assigned to these special duties during day and evening shopping hours. There will also be increased uniformed patrol activity in parking lots, and officers will aggressively enforce handicapped and fire lane violations.They will also be on the lookout for suspicious activity. 

The Department will also use "Saturation Patrols" -- meaning multiple patrol units will simultaneously patrol the same shopping center parking lots. The Department will also deploy its Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR) to intercept criminals with motor vehicle infractions, warrants, and stolen motor vehicles.

The Bureau of Investigative Services (BIS) will also deploy to combat crime on all fronts. In addition to assisting patrol units, the BIS will assist with follow up investigations including interviews and interrogations, photo arrays, evidence collection, and more. The BIS also is increasing mobile undercover surveillance of shopping center parking lots and patrolling the interior of major retail outlets under cover. Finally, the BIS is researching region-wide crime trends, including information on suspects, suspect vehicles, unique crimes, scams, and/or specific targeting of certain stores or items.

The Holiday Shoplifting Action Plan will be in effect through the new year.

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