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How to throw burglars off track while you do your holiday shopping or leave home

Safety officials are warning shoppers to lock their car doors while shopping to deter thieves from stealing purchases.
Safety officials are warning shoppers to lock their car doors while shopping to deter thieves from stealing purchases. meperez@sunherald.com

Christmas shoppers in Diamondhead and elsewhere are reporting that thieves are stealing items from their vehicles.

Several auto thefts in Diamondhead involve doors left unlocked while people shop, Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass said.

“These are burglaries that could have been avoided,” Bass said.

The sheriff’s department and Diamondhead police want to join officials across the Mississippi Coast in warning the public to keep their vehicles, homes and belongings safe.

Thieves are more motivated this time of year to make your Christmas cheer their own, Bass said.

Here’s some holiday safety tips:

▪ Keep your doors locked (vehicles, home, garage, shed).

▪ Don’t leave packages in plain sight in your vehicle. Lock them in your trunk.

▪ Report any suspicious activity, such as people pulling on door handles or youths being out too late or too early.

▪ Keep front and back porch lights on at home. Motion lights are even better.

▪ Don’t advertise on social media if you plan to leave home for the holidays. Use timers for lamps, a television or Christmas lights to make it appear you are home.

▪ Have a neighbor pick up your newspaper and mail if you are leaving town.

▪ Burn large packaging boxes, such as for a TV, surround sound or laptop, where allowed, or flatten the boxes and put them in a trash bag so thieves don’t see what you have that’s new.

▪ Request an extra patrol in your neighborhood if you will be out of town, and specify any vehicles authorized to be at your home.

▪ When in doubt, call your local law enforcement agency and ask to speak with a deputy or police officer.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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