During the rush of the holiday season, it's easy to forget to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against would-be thieves.
While out shopping, officials say you should be sure to put purchases in your trunk, instead of in the open compartment of your car. Make sure you remember to put GPS systems, electronics and other valuable items away where they can't be seen, and never leave your purse or wallet in the car.
Lt. Williams with the Mishawaka Police Department toured a crowded parking lot with us and found people leaving credit cards on their dash board, phones in their center consoles, and bags of items in their back seats. All of these mistakes, would make you any easy target for a thief, Williams said.
He added if you're shopping while it's dark outside, take a friend along with you or have store security escort you out to your car. Park in a well lit area, and make sure you have your car keys out and ready before you reach your vehicle so you're not distracted for even a minute.
Once you're home, Williams says it's also important to make sure all doors are locked, included any doors to your garage. If you're going out of town, don't announce your absence on social networking sites. Have a trusted friend or the police department come check around your home to make sure it's as it should be, and set lights on timers so it appears you're home.
Some other tips included paying someone to shovel your driveway, as one that's snowy could alert a thief that you're not home. After Christmas, avoid putting boxes from gifts such as TVs and gaming systems out on your curb. That also alerts a thief that you may have something they want.