Whitehall police deployed the first of their crime blitzes of 2018 late last month, arresting 20 people on either drug- or theft-related offenses on back-to-back days.

This year's crime blitzes use a saturation of uniformed, plain-clothed and undercover officers focused on one objective in a specific location, Deputy Police Chief Dan Kelso said.

They're a continuation of blitzes Whitehall police first carried out last year. Those included initiatives directed at retail theft, drug trafficking, human trafficking and juvenile crime.

On Feb. 28, police conducted a blitz targeting drug activity along East Main Street.

Eleven people were arrested on charges that included possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamines, carrying a concealed weapon and forgery.

Overall, officers recovered 18 grams of cocaine, 18 grams of methamphetamines, 67 grams of marijuana, two firearms and $7,413 cash.

On March 1, police conducted a retail-theft blitz focused on the Town and Country Shopping Center, on East Broad Street, and Walmart, 3657 E. Main St.

Nine people were arrested on charges that included theft, soliciting, criminal damaging, drug possession and failure to comply with the order of a police officer.

While watching for retail thefts, police observed an incident of solicitation, Kelso said.

The suspects were "caught in the act" in the parking lot, he said.

Another person was arrested for criminal damaging after he reportedly opened and damaged merchandise inside the store, Kelso said.

Some of the nine people arrested were wanted on multiple felony warrants, Kelso said.

"These blitzes are as much an effort to keep our citizens safe as they are to catch criminals victimizing our businesses," Whitehall police Sgt. Spencer Salyers said. "People want to know they are safe and secure (at the store) and should not have to worry about criminal activity around them."

Salyers promised the blitz was the "first of many" this year.