By Kristen Johanson

CHERRY HILL, NJ (CBS) — A South Jersey police department is cracking down on shopping related thefts this holiday season – with a new approach to how they patrol their shopping district.

As shoppers stroll the corridors of the Cherry Hill Mall to find the perfect gift, undercover cops will be walking among them.

“Actually having some of them pose as shoppers and potential victims,” explained Cherry Hill Police Chief Bud Monaghan.

He says big crowds tend to attract those with sticky fingers.

“Criminals attempt to pray on people due to the congestion in those areas, and the fact that people aren’t really paying attention to their surroundings,” Monaghan said.

Monaghan says potential shoplifters and pickpockets should heed the warning.

“If you do something illegal, we are going to arrest you,” he said.

And for shoppers, he says be alert and keep your cash and credit cards close.