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HCSO recruits students to make your Old Town Spring holiday shopping experience safer

Saturday, November 23, 2013
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With the holiday season here, you may be heading out to the stores to grab gifts for friends and family. Criminals could be watching you, but now the Harris County Sheriff's Office is getting some extra help watching out for them.

On Saturday, HCSO introduced us to the Police Explorers -- high school students who have an interest in law enforcement. They will be patrolling the Old Town Spring area this holiday season.

HCSO's Police Explorers program is open to teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 (must have completed the eighth grade) and 20. Some wear vests and uniforms that identify them as Explorers. They are in charge of reporting suspicious activities to deputies. At the same time, they are gaining real-life security experience.

The Old Town Spring shops are mostly mom-and-pop operations -- small business owners who don't really have big budgets for security -- so the extra eyes and ears are a big help to them, especially when the crowds start coming in to shop for the holidays.

"We have to look at our overhead," said Pam Golden, owner of Golden Gypsies gift shop in Spring. "If there's any shop lifting, that's a huge concern that we are faced with. So any extra sets of eyes and ears watching the crowd is good."

HCSO officials said they really haven't had much crime in this area, but add that it's a nice offering to the business owners out here to have extra patrolling.

It's also a good time to remind shoppers to keep electronics, gifts and other valuables out of sight in your vehicle. Instead, store them in your trunk or keep them hidden. Be sure to also lock your vehicles and always be aware of your surroundings.

Find Foti on Facebook at ReporterFotiKallergis or on Twitter at @FotiKallergis

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