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Updated Nov 27, 2013 - 6:41 pm

Phoenix PD to up presence near malls over holidays

Metrocenter Mall, one of the locations that will see an increased police presence, is shown. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police are getting ready for the holiday rush.

With holiday shopping starting, they'll be keeping a closer eye on the malls.

"We're increasing our high-visibility patrols around our shopping centers," said Phoenix Police Lt. Ben Leuschner. "You're going to see a lot more enforcement going on with a lot of visibility of our marked patrol cars."

Leuschner said that they'll also have plain-clothes officers at the malls, and there are several things that you can do to keep yourself safe.

"Please be aware of your surroundings," he said. "Please secure your property. Leaving presents in your car is a huge attraction for criminals. That's what they're looking for, so please put that out of sight and out of mind."

Metrocenter and other Phoenix shopping malls will have employees who will escort shoppers to their car if you request it.

Police also encourage shoppers to park in a well-lit spot. If you're shopping at night, don't go alone. If someone tries to rob you, let them have your stuff. Nothing is worth risking your life. If someone grabs you, scream, kick and do whatever you can to get away.

Leuschner said if you see anything suspicious at the mall, call police.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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