SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The holiday season isn't all about good cheer and gifts. It's also the perfect time for criminals to ruin someone's Christmas by stealing from your car or even breaking into your home.
Despite the increased criminal activity this time of year, it can be prevented, and you don't have to be a victim. It may seem obvious, but doing something as simple as locking your car door is one of the first and most important things you can do before you even start shopping, to help prevent theft.
"Lock up your cars. Put all of your belongings in a safe place where they're not being seen, not in plain sight," said OFC. Marvin Williams, Crime Prevention Officer, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department.
Parking can get crazy these days with some many extra shoppers at the stores, but taking an extra minute to make sure you park in a well lit area with other people is also important.
"If you're making purchases - if you're making large purchases - try to do that at the end of your shopping trip so you can put them right in the car and go directly home," said OFC. Barry Lewis, Cpl. Crime Prevention Officer, SCMPD.
Ladies, if you're wearing a purse, make sure to keep it on you at all times, and gentlemen, you want to keep that wallet in your front pockets.
"A lot of our most recent break-ins and auto thefts have been cars left running at a gas station at the gas tank, or I should say, the gas pump," said
Always turn your car off as a safety precaution, and again, lock your doors even if you're only going inside for a few minutes.
Lastly, if you're going out of town for the holidays, you can let a trusted neighbor know so they can watch out for your home while you're away, or even call the crime prevention office so they can do an extra patrol in your area.
"Make sure when you get done with Christmas, if you bought a flat screen or you bought a laptop, tear those boxes down, place them in dark trash bags so it doesn't look like shopping bags. Basically, a suspect walking through a lane or somebody walking around they see, 'oh, they got a new 55 inch flat-screen,' its basically shopping for a criminal," said
You shouldn't be paranoid, and you can still enjoy yourself, but it's all about being aware of your surroundings. If you have a concern, you can always call the police or the security guard at the business.