ST. CLOUD -- With the recent incidents at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud it has left much of the community uneasy about starting their holiday shopping.

The mall is a unique area in the city, half of it is in St. Cloud while the other half is in Waite Park. Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud says both departments, along with mall security, work together to respond to incidents or crime in the mall area. He says both officers try to have a routine presence at the mall.

"We try to give the mall extra patrol, sometimes there's parking issues, there's a lot of volume of cars moving into the lot and out, sometimes that creates some traffic issues. We try to get out and walk through the food court, have lunch there, those kind of things to be present."

With crowds of holiday shoppers flocking at the mall, Bentrud says there are many ways to stay safe while shopping.

"Being aware of your environment, when you come into the lot be cognitive of other persons, other vehicles. Sometimes during the holiday season in-particular some of our parking lots at the mall and other big box stores get pretty full so you're kind of forced to park out on the edges, maybe in areas that might not be as well lit as others. Maybe wait for something closer to open up, closer to lighting."

Crossroads Center is also dedicated to maintaining a safe shopping environment. General Manager Darcy Eigen says safety is the mall's top priority.

"Crossroads Center incorporates a 24/7 safety and security team in close partnership with the St. Cloud Police Department and the Waite Park Police Department. At any given time, there are a number of professionally trained security officers on site at Crossroads Center that maintain communication with the local police departments. The security measures and procedures in place are regularly reviewed and amended, if necessary, in order to provide a safe and inclusive environment for the community," says Eigen.

Other than physical safety concerns, Bentrud also warns of the increased danger of identity theft during the holiday season.

"Criminals are always looking to get their hands on credit cards, check blanks, so protect those kinds of things. Don't leave your purse in a car unattended, keep it close to your person, keep your purse zipped up, be cognitive of people maybe looking over your shoulder trying to get an account number off of a credit card."

Crossroads Center is open from 6:00 p.m. - 12:00 p.m. Thanksgiving night and 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Black Friday. Each individual store may have a different opening time.


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