Important safety tips to remember this holiday shopping season

While you’re out looking for deals this holiday season, criminals may have their eyes on you, and your car.

It’s the one thing you leave unattended when you hit the mall and crooks know it.

“We have incidents where cars are being cased and they’re watching people put things in their truck, and especially you drive up and you put things in your car and you reach underneath, it’s an obvious sign that you’re hiding something and they have been targeted,” said Sgt. Kim Buffett with CrimeStoppers.

Honolulu police tell us during the holidays they see a 10-percent increase in car break-ins.

Police say the first step in keeping your car safe starts before you even get to the mall. Remove your valuables.

“(What) we’ve seen a lot of is the smash-and-grab, where there’s something in the vehicle, whether it’s a gym bag, even a little lunch tote. It’s valuable to somebody,” Buffett said. “People leave their titles in the cars and their registrations, now they have addresses and everything.”

Another tip: Instead of putting your shopping bags in your trunk, ask the courtesy desk at the mall if they can hold your bags in a secure place until you’re finished shopping.

Never leave your car keys in a lock box attached to your car. While it might seem secure, thieves have found a way to get through the lock and into cars.

“Since April of 2015, there have been 150 auto thefts due to lock boxes. Just last month alone, 27 cases, and this month to date, 19 cases,” Buffett said.

While police and mall security are upping their patrols during the holidays, you also need to do your part. After all, it just takes a few seconds to ruin your Christmas cheer.

“By the time security gets to the vehicle, they’re long gone and this is after the fact your items are long gone,” Buffett said. “By the time security comes by, the time the video sees them, it’s up to the public to take it upon themselves to be safe this season.”

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