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Northgate Mall Officials Shuttle People to Their Cars for Safety

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DURHAM — There are two kinds of Christmas shoppers. Planners who make the list and check it twice and panic people who are just coming to grips with the fact that Christmas Eve is Friday.

If you fall into the second category and plan to shop 'til you drop, you will still have to fight the crowds, but parking should be no problem at one local mall.

Lt. David Buttry drives the holiday shuttle at Northgate Mall in Durham. He makes sure mall employees and customers who are loaded down with packages get to their cars safely.

"We help people get to their cars. We'll help them put their stuff in the vans and get them to their vehicles," said Buttry.

"He is another set of eyes and ears to observe any type of behavior on the people in the parking lots," said Frank Edwards, security director.

Northgate Mall has beefed up security both around and inside the mall during the holidays.

On a normal day, four security officers would be on duty at the mall. On a busy shopping day during the holiday season, 18 officers are on duty, including mall security, Durham police and deputies. There are also a few plain-clothes police.

They patrol the parking lots and shopping areas.

"We want to prevent any type of criminal activity from taking place on our property, and we want to make our property a safe and secure environment for our customers," said Edwards.

Northgate has been running the holiday shuttle for a couple of years. Mall officials say each year more and more people use the service.

The shuttle runs from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day until Christmas Eve.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
David Renner, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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