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How to Avoid Holiday Theft

December 18, 1986

Crime prevention experts offer these suggestions to help ensure that Christmas presents end up under the appropriate tree.

At home:

- Be extra alert about securing doors and windows when leaving your home for any period of time.

- Leave lights and a radio timer on to make your home look and sound occupied.

- Don't put large displays of holiday gifts in view of windows. After opening expensive gifts, mark them with your California driver's license or ID number.

While shopping:

- Shop early in the day to avoid crowds; if you must shop in the evenings, shop with a friend for added security.

- Park in well-lighted areas as close as possible to store entrances. Make sure all windows are tightly shut and doors locked. Lock all packages in your trunk. Avoid carrying large sums of cash.

- Be particularly aware of persons in the parking lot, especially near your car.

- Women should carry their purses tucked under their arms close to the body. Credit cards and personal identification should be carried in a pocket.

- Men should carry their wallets in front or inside pockets.

- Be aware of the people around you and don't allow your attention to become distracted from your purse or packages.

- Make frequent trips to your car to stash your packages out of sight in the trunk. Don't let yourself get overloaded with bundles.

- Don't hesitate to contact mall or store security if you see any suspicious activity.

- If you are the victim of a crime, report it to the police or Sheriff's Department immediately.

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