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Be smart about holiday shopping

Not only is it the shopping season, it’s the stealing season as well. Cars full of Christmas gifts are easy targets for thieves, especially at night.

The Brookhaven Police Department is reminding shoppers to take a few precautions during the holidays.

Park as close as possible to store entrances and in well-lit areas, police recommend. Valuables shouldn’t be left in view within a car. Christmas presents should be hidden in a trunk. Cars should be left locked at all times.

“This time of year, we get careless,” Chief Bobby Bell said. “We have so many people who will leave their car unlocked, and even leave their key in the ignition. Make sure you lock your car up and take your keys with you.”

Those who carry purses should carry the strap across their body to make it more difficult for a thief to grab.

These are common sense recommendations, yet many of us forget them when we’ve got shopping on our minds.

It’s also smart to think about where you put those large boxes once gifts like TVs have been unwrapped. Placing the box in full view of the street alerts thieves that you’ve just unwrapped a new 60-inch TV. 

“Porch pirates” are also on the prowl during the holidays. Packages dropped by UPS, FedEx or USPS on your doorstep are also easy targets for thieves.

Shipping companies recommend asking for a tracking number, requesting a signature for delivery and scheduling deliveries for times when you are home to keep your packages safe. You can also request that shipping companies deliver to your back door or garage.