Tips to avoid theft while you Christmas shop

■ By Richard Perry / Contributed

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy!

In our previous article, we shared tips on traveling with food. I hope you found it helpful and it saved you from any Thanksgiving mishaps.
My mother-in-law, Pam, lives in a town called Magalia just above Paradise, California. As the fires were quickly approaching, her garbage collector being a good samaritan and now local hero, ensured she made it safely down the hill while he personally picked up other elderly folks. This fantastic story was reported across the news nationally and made me think of how important it is to ensure each other’s safety – including the safety of our valuables.
During this holiday season, being thankful for family and friends is a part of this festive time. While being thankful, we will spend plenty of time these next few weeks looking for the perfect gift for our loved ones to show our appreciation. However, it is important to be aware of our surroundings as we shop leaving our vehicles unattended.
Shoppers tend to leave their cars in the parking lot for hours while they shop. In fact, I personally have been a victim of theft on three occasions and on one I was able to apprehend them and make a citizen’s arrest. Although, I don’t advise this. Regardless, keeping your car and presents safe and secure is very important as thieves may take to the streets or shopping malls to attempt to take what’s not theirs from your car.
Our local police tell me every year, people are often victims of theft by leaving their valuables in plain sight. Typically, shoppers who leave their gifts unprotected sitting in the backseat while they continue shopping are the ones being targeted.

So here are the Hemet Car Guy shopping tips:

1) Lock your car! My wife always locks the car even if it’s in the garage.

2) Lock your gifts in the trunk! When shopping, it is always best having things out of sight as this will prevent any lurkers from trying to break in to retrieve an item they see inside your car. If you drive a hatchback and don’t have a trunk, pull back the cargo cover.

3) Be wary of where you park. Pick somewhere that’s busy and well lit.

4) Shop for more expensive products last, so they are the last to go into the car before you drive off. Never leave anything of high value unattended.

5) If you’re in a parking lot and you spot a CCTV camera, park near it. It’s definitely beneficial to be in eyesight of any potential security guards.

6) If you notice anything that doesn’t look right, report it!

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