There will be 27 additional security guards, four of them armed, when the holiday shopping surge begins at the Porter Ranch Walmart on Thanksgiving night.
Before the turkey leftovers even cool, the shopping will begin.
Walmart will kick off its in-store specials at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving — two hours before last year.
Toys "R" Us is opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving — an hour earlier than last year.
Elsewhere, Target announced Monday it will open at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving — a full three hours earlier than last year's 12:01 a.m. Black Friday start.
Walmart manager Fernando Reyes said Tuesday that the company was taking action following the melee that erupted last year when a customer fired off pepper spray in the crush to grab a deep-discount Xbox game console.
"What we've done here at Porter Ranch, in addition to the queue lines that the company said we must abide by, we've designated additional queue lines," Reyes told the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council. "We don't want anything like what happened last year to repeat itself. So we are taking extra precautions to make sure we are safe."
He said the store has contingency plans with a 59 percent increase in unarmed and armed security, warning banners, barricades and limits on the number of customers permitted in the store at any one time. Roadways and entrances will be cleared to allow emergency personnel immediate access if they are needed, he said.
"We're going to have unobstructed access to the rear of the store," for police if there is an emergency, he said. "Secondly, we've set up a safety zone with bike-barricades, and those bike-barricades are removable so if at any point the fire department needs to come in, it will be very easy to get them in."
In addition, throughout the shopping season, the LAPD will be beefing-up parking lot patrols at the Porter Ranch Town Center, as well as the Northridge Fashion Center. Urging residents to keep their purchases out of sight, LAPD Senior Lead Officer Daniel del Valle warned, "Lock it. Hide it. Keep it."
There will be officers on bikes, a mounted horse patrol, additional surveillance, and even regular fly-byes by police helicopters, he said.
Click on the store names below to preview Black Friday advertisements, courtesy bfads.net :
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Best Buy
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Home Depot
- Old Navy
- Sam's Club
- Sports Authority
- Toys "R" Us