CINCINNATI - 'Tis the season for Santa, shopping, and more shopping.
It's also the season for purse snatchers.
Despite annual warnings that crimes of opportunity-- including purse snatchings -- spike during the holidays, many of us still let our guard down.
That's good news for the bad guys.
But staying safe can be just common sense, according to Jasper Reeves, who says he used to find himself on the wrong side of the law.
"I'm not perfect. I had my share of things," he said.
Now he works security, helping to keep the people connected to their valuables.
"Anything that's real important to you, keep it close to you," he said. "As far as your purses and stuff like that, keep it all close, especially wallets."
And, he says, avoid going out alone.
"It's best to walk (in) pairs," he said. "Walk with someone."
Self-defense expect Debbie Gardner says you can give thieves what they least expect, and maybe be entertained in the process.
She suggests you tie your purse to the shopping cart.
"If somebody would go to grab it, it's stuck," she said. "Now, how funny would that be?"
Gardner says we need to take control of our lives away from the criminals.
"I believe the extreme fear of crime is a worse problem than crime itself, because of what it's doing to the masses who haven't even been attacked yet."
That fear, she says can be overcome by a simple change in attitude.
"Let's be clever, let's be fun about our safety choices," she said. "Let's get out there and live."
In the event that you are overwhelmed by a thief; "Take a deep breath and pump your hands, and look towards them," she said. "Oxygen and blood moving in your body will allow your brain to get a description."
She says to call the police, give that description, and then get over it, because we're not going to let these small events destroy our holiday.
If the criminal isn't after your belongings, Gardner says it's time to take it to the next level. But, if that's not what they're after...
"Then we're moving from somebody who wants our stuff, to somebody who wants me, and that's not going to happen today," she said. "At that point, I'm going to take my hand, in the state of love... and I'm going to put my love right on their throat."
Police have their own tips for personal safety;
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Macy's Inc. and Hixson Architecture Engineering Interiors won a global retail design award at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas Sunday.