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How to keep yourself and your property safe this holiday season

Dejai Huffmon waits for friends at the St. Louis Galleria on Black Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in St. Louis, Mo. Stores open their doors Friday for what is still one of the busiest days of the year, even as the start of the holiday season edges ever earlier.
Dejai Huffmon waits for friends at the St. Louis Galleria on Black Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in St. Louis, Mo. Stores open their doors Friday for what is still one of the busiest days of the year, even as the start of the holiday season edges ever earlier. AP

The holiday shopping season is here, which can also be prime theft and burglary season.

Keep yourself, your home and your Black Friday purchases safe with these tips:

  • It’s tempting to stock up on purchases during holiday sales but carrying too many packages makes it easier for a would-be thief to snatch a bag or your wallet without you noticing.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep your wallet and purse close to your body, not dangling by a strap.
  • Lock your car and store all items out of site. Most thieves will only break into a car if they know it will be worth it, so avoid tempting them.
  • It’s getting chillier, but avoid leaving your car running while running into a store. The vast majority of cars in the U.S. are stolen not by elaborate car theft rings but from people who left keys in the ignition.
  • Burglars know that many homes will have new high-end items in them during the holidays and they can often tell what those items are by the boxes and packaging people throw out. Make sure to break down the boxes that a new TV or stereo system came in and put the boxes in trash bags rather than leaving them visible on the curb. If possible, put packaging out immediately before the garbage will be picked up.
  • If you’re traveling, get an automatic timer for lights in your house and have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. Newspapers that pile up and a house dark for days indicate to would-be burglars no one is home.
  • If you are friendly with your neighbors, ask them to park in your driveway occasionally and to keep a general eye on the home. Close your curtains when you leave so any gifts you may have can’t be seen from the outside.
  • Ask your police department if they provide extra patrols while residents are traveling.
  • If you see anything suspicious, call police.

Regina Zilbermints: 228-896-2340, @RZilbermints

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