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Christmas shopping safety tips from police

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LAWTON, Okla_Shopping during the holiday season can present unique dangers. But, Lawton police say taking a few preventive measures can help keep your holiday season joyous. This is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. Police say they usually see a spike in thefts this time of year, but you don't have to be a victim.

Police believe thieves keep a close eye on shoppers as they go to shopping centers. Thieves see what kind of goodies shoppers pick up, and then strike when they least expect it.

Lieutenant William Grimes said, during the holiday season, opportunistic thieves are the ones we have to look out for.

"Just because there are more shoppers. More shoppers mean more opportunity. People are spending more money so those opportunity thieves are going to be out."

If shoppers are planning on spending a lot of money in a single day he said to be prepared.

"Kind of schedule it out, but do two or three things, get it take it back to your car, take it back to your home. Secure it and then go on out for another round."

If you can't, never leave them in plain sight.

"Obviously, you always want to keep your vehicle locked. You don't want to leave your purse laying there where somebody can look in the vehicle and see it. If you can utilize your trunk space, utilize your trunk space as much as possible."

Grimes say these safe shopping strategies get a lot more attention during the holidays, but they should be used year-round.

"If it were me, I wouldn't leave anything of value in my vehicle just because I know what I read everyday. I see the reports coming in and it's just not worth it."

Officials suggest if you can, park by the street lamps so your car is well-lit. They encourage people to shop in numbers, and when walking back to your car, walk with your keys in your hand, so you can use them as a weapon if you have to.

Grimes said the danger of shopping may not end at a shopping center. He said it's a good idea to keep the gifts hidden at home for as long as possible, instead of putting them on display under the tree for several days.

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