Cashing in on Christmas

"Security is something we take seriously all year round," she said.

According to Pyramid Management Group Inc., which owns the mall, and Purple Tree technologies, the system will be used as an early warning system that will be able to notify every store in the mall of both "natural and man-made," emergency situations.

The system can transmit unlimited messages to key personnel and store managers within seconds.

"Safety is our No. 1 priority, and we anticipate using the system to notify our merchants and customers of weather situations and other emergencies," said

Terri Walsh, general manager of Crossgates Mall.

Holiday spirits

Police said that aside from the usual holiday crime, the spirit of giving can sometimes give way to the giving of spirits.

"It's not just a larceny, shoplifting or a drive off. It goes further than just that. What we also see is an increase in domestic violence," Heffernan said. "Everyone can relate to the financial situation, but during the holidays, what do people do? They drink."

Heffernan said he sees a connection between the large volume of domestic dispute calls during a time when people are financially strapped, stressed out and consuming alcohol.

"One in four women are affected by this crime," said Maggie Fronk, the executive director Saratoga County Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services Center.

Fronk said that a tough economy during the holidays not only increases tension and raises the chances of domestic violence, but that a poor economy also makes it harder for victims to leave.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 75 percent of all cases of domestic violence, the offender is drunk at the time of the offense.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the period between Christmas and New Year's Day is the deadliest time of year for alcohol-related traffic deaths, citing 40 percent of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol-impaired drivers.

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