TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — During the holiday season, shoppers may be so busy that they fail to be aware of their surroundings.

Careless or unaware shoppers are easy targets for purse snatchers and street robbers.

Baltimore County Police wants to remind people to be aware of their surroundings and to take extra care when it comes to the safety of themselves, loved ones and their property.

Officials are offering the following safety tips this holiday season:

Shopping

  • Don’t display large amounts of cash or offer tempting targets for theft such as expensive jewelry.
  • 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.
  • Always walk and park in well-lit areas. Park close to the entrance of the store or mall, if possible. Even outside of the mall, stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets, walkways and parking areas for walking and parking.

Vehicle Safety 

  • Always lock your car, 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.
  • Thieves do their own form of window shopping. They look in parked cars for gifts and other merchandise, and will break through car windows to get at such valuables.

Home: 

  • Always lock your doors and windows, even if you plan to be out for a short while.
  • 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.

For other holiday safety tips, visit the Baltimore County Police Department website.

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