ATLANTA — Between the SEC Championship and holiday events, Atlanta Police said people will notice more officers on patrol in the city.
On Friday, Deputy Chief Timothy Peek said the department is transitioning to its holiday security strategy and the changes will be noticeable and consistent leading into the new year.
"You’ll notice there will be a lot of police officers. We’ll be working closely with all of our jurisdictions to ensure that we create a safe atmosphere for the citizens of Atlanta," Peek said.
Peek first spoke of Saturday's SEC Championship Game, when UGA will face off with Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
"NFL to college football, SEC – We’ve hosted these events time and time again so we have a robust plan and we constantly work with all of our partners at Georgia World Congress Center to ensure that we integrate our security protocols inside and outside," he said.
Authorities are expecting an influx of traffic by the Downtown Atlanta and Peachtree Street corridor especially with the Atlanta Falcons and the Hawks playing this weekend, according to APD. Peek recommended that people utilize MARTA.
"Our trains and bus systems will help us with removing unnecessary cars," he said.
Beyond traffic, Peek asked people to be extra vigilant when it comes to locking their vehicles or roaming parking lots.
"We have made some arrests with our vehicle break-ins and auto thefts," Peek said. "But still, we don't want to put ourselves in a situation where we make ourselves vulnerable to those types of crimes."
He advised people to lock their cars and go directly home after shopping, especially after making expensive purchases. For those shopping online, he asked people to take special note of when packages will be delivered as to not leave them vulnerable for too long.
"Send them to your job, perhaps to your family members, neighbors -- somebody that you know is going to be home," he said.
Peek also said with heavy foot traffic expected in Atlanta, people who are permitted to carry firearms should take extra care of their weapons.
"Do not leave them in those vehicles," he said. "We do not need weapons left in vehicles because they're easily able to get into the hands of criminals."
The law enforcement officer also advised those with concealed carry permits to consider leaving their firearm at home if they're going somewhere that doesn't allow weapons. Though Atlanta Police will be enforcing rules in Atlanta, shops and venues have their own rules and not abiding to them could create a bigger, and avoidable, issue, Peek said.
Ultimately, police are asking people to make safety everyone's concern this season and say they will do their part.
"We have initiated our holiday plan of action so we can ultimately ensure we can put patrols off duty and on duty throughout all of our critical venues in the City of Atlanta," Peek said.