Hamilton police are pounding the pavement this weekend in a determined effort to keep the central city safe.
Operation Kringle will see police numbers boosted on the street this weekend as the city reaches its pre-Christmas hiatus. Traditionally, the weekends leading up to Christmas are the busiest of all the holiday weekends.
Hamilton City area commander Inspector Paul Carpenter says staff numbers will increase by about 20 tonight and tomorrow night as people pour into the central city's pubs and restaurants. As well as general police patrols, there will be an increased police presence on the roads and a special youth team will also operate in the city.
"The aim of this operation is high police visibility and making sure that the city is kept as crime-free as possible. The numbers currently coming into the city at weekends is increasing rapidly and we have to respond to that sort of influx," Mr Carpenter said.
Police will be increasing their "beats", as well as calling into pubs and clubs to check on patron behaviour and drunkenness. The booze bus will be operating at various points around the city and there will also be mobile police patrols. There will be an emphasis on disorder and other street crime, as well as vehicles and traffic infringements.
Operation Kringle has been running for the past few weekends and has already proved its worth. Mr Carpenter said there has been a noticeable decrease in arrests and police are pleased with the general behaviour of people in the city overall.
"If we make our presence felt in the central city hopefully we will achieve two things - firstly it should be a deterrent to potential troublemakers and secondly, we will be able to nip a lot of crime in the bud either before it happens or before it escalates into serious consequences."
The special taskforce Project J will continue to work with youth in the central city. They will target children in town at night, bring them back to the central police station or return them home.