Preparing for five days of holiday shopping

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Maleigha Heinz came to Valley View Mall with her grandmother Cynthia Shelby for one specific reason.

"They have a Hot Pocket here," Shelby said to a quick correction from Maleigha. "Hot Topic! I'm sorry."

They're in town from out-of-state, and they're just some of the many shoppers hitting the stores ahead of the Black Friday doorbuster deals.

"We went to several stores and it was really nice," Shelby said. "Everything is decorated for Christmas and everybody so nice and pleasant."

The National Retail Federation expects 164 million Americans will shop between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Police are already prepping for the big crowds, by changing the traffic flow for faster lines and bringing in reinforcements.

"As always, there will be a lot of off-duty hiring for Black Friday," Roanoke Police Department's Scott Leamon said. "When you look at the data.... If we have a cop that walks through someplace about every 15 to 20 minutes, then you do see a drop in the amount of calls for service and the amount of criminal incidents."

Heinz and Shelby say they're staying away from the stores this holiday weekend, knowing they crossed items off the Christmas list.

"She actually bought two," Shelby said.

Police say there are the same things to remember every holiday shopping season: store items out of sight, lock your doors, and hold onto anything valuable.

Roanoke City has a new class of recruits going through academy now. In a couple weeks, those recruits will be right at the city's biggest shopping centers, teamed up with veterans, and getting some of their first on-the-job training.