CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Several law enforcement agencies came together at the Corpus Christi Police Department Headquarters Monday to detail their Holiday Initiative to fight crimes like the theft of packages from cars.
"We want to let you know that we're working hard together as partners to ensure that we have very safe and secure shopping areas for our citizens," CCPD Dep. Chief Billy Breedlove said.
The partners Breedlove refers to are CCPD's Auto Theft Task Force, the Nueces County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Nueces County District Attorney's Office. Sheriff J.C. Hooper had a message for all of the grinches out there.
"This morning, the jail population was at 83-percent," Sheriff Hooper said. "So what I'm saying is, we have room in the Nueces County Jail. I hope you're not the type of person that would end up there."
The Holiday Initiative is also designed to crack down on distracted and drunken driving -- both of which increase during the Holiday Season.
"We're encouraging folks -- when you go out and do your Christmas parties -- please get a designated driver," DPS Cpt. Steven McQuagge said. "Get a taxi, an Uber, a Lyft -- some kind of ride-share program to get home safely."
Both DPS and CCPD are increasing their DWI patrols over the next several weeks, and they'll have a tool at their disposal thanks to Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez. He's footing the bill to have a phlebotomist available at all times during the Holiday season. Those medical professionals will test the blood of suspected drunken drivers to see if they're over the legal limit for alcohol.
"The main thing we want to do is to make sure that everybody leaves and arrives home safely," Gonzalez said. "Don't be a reason your family and friends have to be sad or ruin somebody's Christmas."
When it comes to protecting packages you buy from thieves, the Auto Theft Task Force has some simple tips.
"The mantra is lock, take, and hide," Lt. Colby Burris of the task force said. "Make sure you lock your vehicle, take your belongings out of there, and if you absolutely can't do that, make sure you hide them to make it tougher for criminals."
Porch pirates are also a concern that the Holiday Initiative addresses. Police encourage you to immediately move packages that are mailed to you into your home or have them delivered to you at work. Doing that and hiding packages left in your car will help to make the season bright.
"We do wish we were at a point where you could go shopping in multiple places and leave your packages in your vehicle, but unfortunately we're not there yet," Lt. Burris said.