Andrew Blankstein and Hector Becerra
November 23, 2012, 4:28 p.m.
Black Friday is a day for burning off those Thanksgiving calories with some intense Christmas shopping. But for the Los Angeles Police Department, it’s become a day of surveillance, crowd control and crime-suppression tactics.
Helicopters will buzz above some shopping centers, and below, a cavalry of LAPD officers will patrol on bikes and horses. From store rooftops, officers will scan the crowds below looking for unruly behavior. Electronic signs near stores will warn customers about becoming victims of theft as they navigate the mass of humanity looking for bargains.
The deployments are part of a new strategy by the LAPD to deal with the retail roller derby that comes after Thanksgiving. In addition to stationing officers around shopping centers, the LAPD has been visiting stores across the city this week, talking to managers about the psychology of the frantic shopper.