Operation Safe Holiday 2016 launches in Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Law enforcement agencies from across Orange County are launching their annual initiative to decrease car break-ins at shopping areas during the holiday season.

In its eighth year, Operation Safe Holiday will be increasing patrols around busy shopping areas to discourage car burglaries and theft.

"Officers (are) out in unmarked vehicles, marked vehicles, on horseback, on bike in a variety of locations," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.

Along with an increased presence, authorities also urge shoppers to be aware of their surroundings.

"Unfortunately, the criminal element in our society also recognize the holiday season," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, shoppers are encouraged to keep doors locked, break down large boxes that could reveal expensive purchases and report suspicious activity.

While undercover officers monitor high-traffic areas, authorities issued a warning to potential thieves.

"Let it be known: You will be brought to justice, and you will be the one spending your holidays behind bars," Mina said.

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