SAVANNAH, GA. (November 20, 2013): Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are looking for the Grinch and are asking the public to join the search.

Metro police have taken steps to thwart the annual rise in crime that accompanies the approach of the holidays by reinstating the yearly intensification of patrols in areas where shoppers would be most vulnerable.

Known as the “Jingle Bell Patrol,” the assignment puts additional officer on busy streets, in commercial parking lots and around retail outlets in search of thieves who would break into cars, rob shoppers and increase shoplifting.

“We know that crime increases around the holidays and we will be doing our part to add security wherever and whenever we can, “ said Interim Police Chief Julie Tolbert. “But the ultimate security would be collaboration between our officers, the stores and the shoppers we are all trying to protect.”

Patrol officers from all five precincts have been assigned overtime hours to police areas where thieves are most prone to act, along with plain clothes detectives, crime suppression units, canine officers, and mounted patrol.

Most precincts already have engaged the expanded hours that have helped reduce crime in the past few years. The patrols will intensify as the holidays near.

Meanwhile, police are asking the public to take precautions themselves by shopping in groups, parking in well-lighted areas, securing packages in the trunk and reporting any suspicious activity to police immediately. Most importantly, they are asking shoppers to intensify their own cautions by being aware of what is going on around them at all times, locking their cars and hiding all valuables.