‘Tis the Season for Criminals: How Not to Become a Victim of Holiday Shopping Theft

It just takes a second for someone to grab something from you

It's a busy time of the year. You might be hosting family in town, cooking more in the kitchen or watching the kids while they're out of school and, of course, shopping for the best deals this holiday season.

With all of the distractions, police say it's also the perfect time for criminals to take advantage of you.

"Be aware of your surroundings, be aware when you're going to and from your car," said Sgt. Evan Mattei with the Frisco Police Department.

For example, police are advising people not to leave their bags sitting in the cart while putting away their purchases.

During the Christmas season of 2018, Red Oak Police posted video of criminals driving around a retail parking lot looking for people walking to their cars. Once they found an opportunity, they drove by and snatched a purse from a cart right from the window. 

Police call them "sliders." It just takes a second for someone to grab something from you.

In addition to being aware of your surroundings, make sure you hide your valuables.

"We need to take it a step farther. We need to remove our belongings. If it's valuable to you, it's valuable to someone else," said Officer Chris Bianez of the Plano Police Department. "And even if looks like its valuable and it's something you don't care much about, if they break your window and it costs $400, that's going to be a mess."

The signs you see in the parking lot mean something. Take your keys, lock your vehicle and make a mental note of where you're parked so you can head straight to your car.

"If you're making multiple purchases and stops for all of the gifts for this season, plan your purchases to hide the smaller items. And if you're making a larger more expensive purchase, make that the last purchase of the day so you can go straight home," said Mattei.

In a Facebook video, Bianez gave an example of why that's important.

"There was someone who went out on her lunch break and bought a nice expensive laptop, put it in her trunk and went to work the rest of the day, it was during lunch hour," he said. "When she came back, opened the trunk and it was gone! What happened was someone saw her at the retailer followed her and targeted her specifically."

If you ever feel unsafe, be sure to call your local police.

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