The Other Side of Holiday Shopping

The Boston Globe has a good report looking at all the work created for law enforcement agencies during the holiday shopping season.

It is a problem that police officers face in many communities with major retail destinations. The holiday season may be about peace on Earth and good will toward men - in theory. But police officers in Burlington, Braintree, Watertown, and other communities know otherwise.

Last year, three times a day, on average, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Burlington police responded to calls at the Burlington Mall, an 86-acre retail giant just off Interstate 95 - far more than usual, according to police.

One store last year reported $2,300 worth of goods stolen. Three shoppers reported being scammed out of $10,600 by a con artist posing as a salesman selling plasma televisions. There were 25 car accidents reported to police within a few blocks of the mall - a figure that does not include minor fender-benders, police say, and so represents just a percentage of last year's holiday shopping accidents. And then there were the arguments - usually over parking spots.

"That happens all the time," said Burlington patrolman Jim Tigges. "Mostly, at Christmastime, it's the usual. 'Tis the season, we say. I had to break up two women fighting last year."

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