CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The calendar has turned to December 1, and police and community members say they’re getting ready for the busiest shopping season of the year, and want to make sure you’re safe at the Walden Galleria.
“We want everyone to be on point when it comes to shopping safety,” said Cheektowaga Police Chief Brian Gould.
Chief Gould says thieves are looking for crimes of opportunity. Across the country, we’re seeing brazen smash and grab burglaries at high-end retail stores. We asked Cheektowaga PD if it’s prepared for this type of crime.
“Retail theft has always been an issue here. We have organized a group focused on retail theft. We are following the national trends, what’s working in other agencies,” he said. “Thankfully we have not had the violent larcenies in other parts of the country.”
The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team looked into police calls to the Walden Galleria, finding on numerous occasions both Friday and Saturday November 19 and 20, police were called for shoplifting and other problems with kids.
The police call says “30-40 kids” were causing a disturbance inside the mall on Saturday the 20th. Security asked them leave according to the call and the kids dispersed throughout the mall.
Cheektowaga Police say they want to be proactive and do what they can to prepare for potential situations. Officers say this includes the strict enforcement of the mall’s parental escort policy on Fridays and Saturdays. After 4:00 p.m. anyone under the age of 18 must be with an adult over 21.
“If staff discovers you are not to be here, we will ask you to leave,” said Pastor James Giles of the Buffalo Peacemakers. The Peacemakers are providing support to the mall and Cheektowaga PD during the holidays.
“We will always have two officers in the mall, and Pyramid is helping out with that. They’re covering the costs of having two officers in the mall.”