APD officers using bikes to deter crooks

Police officers patrol shopping areas for holiday season. / Jessica Fairley

Albany Police Department patrolmen are hanging up their keys, straddling their bikes and heading to shopping areas. This is a part of the department's Shock and Awe program.

Officials say criminals often look to shopping areas for easy targets, so by being out on their bikes, they are hoping to scare the crooks away.

"It actually works better than a car because you can actually sneak up on somebody on this bike," said Albany Police Patrolman Dramoski Franklin.

So far, the plan is working and leaving shoppers with a sense of security.

"It's a good feeling to know that you have protection when you're out here shopping," said Albany Mall shopper Betty Hanks.

But as cops do their job to keep shoppers safe, they say shoppers must also do their part by locking their vehicle doors, looking for suspicious behavior and protecting their belongings.

"Don't leave your purse on the seat in plain view where criminals can walk by and see a purse on the seat," said Franklin.

Another tip is to take extra bags to your car and put the items in your trunk.

If you can't fit everything in the trunk, make an extra trip to the house to drop off those extra bags.