Holiday shoppers are being warned to be aware of their surroundings so that they don’t fall victim to theft. Lt. David Williams of the Jefferson City Police Department said it may be a year-round problem, but thefts from vehicles rise during the holiday season.

“Especially in shopping centers,” he told Missourinet. “You may make a purchase at one store, take it out to your car before you go next door because you don’t want to carry those packages into the next store as you’re shopping.”

Williams advises you to not burden yourself with so many packages that you can’t safely take them to your vehicle.

“At the same time, keep a hold on your purse or your backpack or whatever it is that you’re carrying with you to make sure that you’re not a victim of crime of opportunity,” he said.

If you see someone trying to break into your vehicle, he also warned against trying to stop them yourself.

“Utilize your phone, utilize other people in the parking lot. Ask them to call 911,” Williams said. “Call for security depending on where you are. We definitely want you to be a good witness and not be harmed trying to defend that purchase that someone is taking. Life is more valuable than any item that someone could be taking out of a vehicle.”

Also, don’t leave your car running if you make a quick stop somewhere. Not only do you run the risk of getting your car stolen, but Williams said some cities have ordinances that allow police to cite drivers that park their vehicles and leave them running.

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