By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — SALEM — Retailers weren’t the only ones busy over the extended kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
Salem police responded to more than 600 calls over the four-day period, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday.
Police made 56 custodial arrests over the long weekend, he said, a large number but not unusual for this time of year.
Five of those arrests were in stores, Patten said, shoppers who got too carried away when waiting in line or trying to get their hands on the biggest bargains of the day.
Those five people were charged with a variety of crimes, including disorderly conduct, assault and resisting arrest.
“That was specific to people waiting in line or during the mad rush to get a certain item,” Patten said of the in-store arrests. “It was during the pushing and shoving that occurs.”
The crowds seen over the weekend will continue until Christmas, he said.
“November and December really ramp up for us,” Patten said. “When people come to Salem, they need to exercise patience with an increase in traffic and lines in stores.”
Police were out in force. Retailers pay for some of those extra officers and the department also adds extra manpower as part of normal operations during the holiday season, he said.
He urged shoppers to stash their purchases in the trunk of their car and not leave them in plain view, which is an invitation to thieves to help themselves.
In addition to the shopping-related arrests, police also arrested 10 people for driving under the influence, more than a dozen for theft and eight on drug-related charges, he said.
“We also managed to rescue a bald eagle,” he said, referring to the Thanksgiving Day rescue by two Salem officers.
New Hampshire State Police were out in force, too.
Troopers made 3,914 vehicle stops during the extended holiday weekend, Col. Robert Quinn said.
State police issued 1,009 speeding citations and 2,251 warnings. Thirty-one drivers were arrest for driving under the influence. They also cited 117 for “hazardous” violations” and 29 operators for driving with a suspended license. State police made 83 other criminal arrests over the long weekend.
There were no fatalities on New Hampshire highways during the holiday weekend, Quinn said.
Motorists who alerted police to erratic driving by others resulted in several arrests, he said.