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Nervous Holiday Shoppers Find Barricades, More Police After Walnut Creek Smash-and-Grab Robberies

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) - Holiday shopping in Walnut Creek has slowed to crawl as police tightened security in and around Broadway Plaza after roughly 80 people stormed the Nordstrom during one of Bay Area's violent weekend smash and grabs.

A barricade has been placed to keep cars off Broadway Plaza. It brings a sense of safety but those we spoke with tonight say it's also bad for business.

It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year with shoppers spending and businesses profiting but some say the shopping experience isn't the same after seeing the smash and grab over the weekend.

"It is alarming. I have a 7-year-old daughter. I didn't bring her today because of what happened," said Michelle Lee. "It brings back old memories but it's obviously not the same. A lot online shopping for sure."

And workers at some of the stores say they've seen a sudden drop in business ever since the barricades were installed.

"It's honestly been kind of slow. Not as many people around here and when they do, they leave before it gets dark," says employee Seeta Deb.

Taylor Hirsch agrees.

"I definitely noticed it being a lot quieter with that being said, I noticed it being a lot safer with the barricade," says Hirsch.

As the holiday shopping season is supposed to get into full swing on Black Friday, employees say they haven't been told about any additional security measures. There is an increased presence of police officers on every block in front of many of the stores. Still, some shoppers say there's an uneasy feeling.

"Just not knowing. It can happen anywhere. Before it was certain areas but now anywhere," says Lee.

The City of Walnut Creek says no long term plans have been made and the police focus right now is what happened over the weekend and how to stop it from happening again. City officials will continue to work with the police department and Broadway Plaza on what the long term solution should be, but for now, the extra police presence is here to stay.

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