You're not the only one looking forward to . According to Baltimore County police, purse snatchers and street robbers target shoppers in the weeks between and .
Here are some tips released by police on Monday to keep some grinch from stealing your holiday:
- When you are in a parking lot or garage, be alert to someone who appears to be standing around for no good reason.
- Always park in well-lit areas and park close to the entrance of the store or mall.
- Don’t talk on a cell phone when walking to and from your vehicle. Keep your full attention on your surroundings.
- Don’t electronically unlock your vehicle until you are within door opening distance. This helps stop a thief from getting into the car and waiting to strike when you least expect it.
- If you are ready to leave the mall and feel uneasy about entering the parking lot or garage by yourself, stay in the mall and ask for a security escort.
- Do not open your car door to anyone in a parking lot or garage. If you believe you are in danger, call 911 immediately.
- If you believe someone is following you, cross the street, switch directions, walk into a store or restaurant. If you are really scared, yell. Don't be embarrassed. Your safety is more important.
- Carry only the credit cards you intend to use, leave the others behind.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use checks or check cards.
- Use ATMs wisely. Have the card ready before approaching the machine, and use ATMs in high traffic areas.
- Don't flash large amounts of cash or offer tempting targets for theft such as expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Carry a purse or shoulder bag close to your body, not dangling by straps. Put a wallet in an inside pocket of your coat or front pants pocket.
- Don't fumble for house or car keys. Have them in your hand, ready to use when you reach the door.
- Always lock your car and residence, even if you are away for only a few moments. Do not leave valuables—gifts, cell phones, purse or clothing—in open view in your car. Take valuables with you, lock them in your trunk, or cover them in an unobtrusive way.
- Leave lights turned on both inside and outside your residence after dark. Criminals don't like bright places.
- If you will be away from home for several days, make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail and newspapers. An overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home, and burglars are tempted to check those envelopes for holiday gifts.
- Do your homework when you donate to any charity.
- Why not set aside some time right after the holidays to get your bike and gifts engraved with your ID number or driver's license number. Never use your social security number.
Have any tips to add? Tell us in the comments.