Protect yourself from theft while shopping for the holiday season

CINCINNATI -- The holiday shopping season is here in the Tri-State, which means stealing and theft cases could heat up too.

Patrol officers are expected to be out in force around the area's shopping centers and malls, ready to stop any thieves that may be on the prowl.

Sgt. Mark Vickers of the Norwood Police Department encourages shoppers to be aware of their surroundings, and to make multiple trips to the car so fewer shopping bags are juggled at a time.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office released a list of easy tips shoppers can use to stay protected from theft for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

The rate of thefts, particularly purse snatching, jumps during holiday shopping, Cpl. David Bolman said. By using a few safety precautions, he feels theft will happen less often.

First, women should put their purse in their car before loading groceries and presents. Bolman said suspects have been known to drive down a traffic aisle while the passenger reaches out the car window to grab a purse from a shopping cart.

Carrying a purse while loading is not a safe, either. Victims of similar snatch-and-grabs have been dragged on the pavement after a thief grabs hold of their bags, Bolman said.

To further ensure safety, shopping carts should be parked between cars for unloading. That way, all merchandise is kept away from the aisle's easy access.

Donation scams climb during the holidays, too. Bolman said callers wanting money, those standing outside department stores and door-to-door solicitors are not permitted within Hamilton County.

If a shopper's credit cards get stolen, Bolman suggested a way to make cancelling those cards quick and easy - write the numbers to each credit card company down and keep them in your glove compartment. Thieves often use the credit cards immediately after stealing them, knowing the owner will cancel them as soon as possible.



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