Don’t let the Grinch steal your Christmas this year.
Police departments say it’s that time of year when they see an increase in thefts and your holiday gifts could be a target.
“Unfortunately, the holiday season brings out crimes of opportunity. That’s usually what thefts from vehicles usually are, a crime of opportunity," said Commander Tod Rehner, Paso Robles Police Department.
Thieves take advantage of the situation looking for any valuables you might have in the car. That includes Christmas gifts.
“Typically, what they are doing is they are going car to car looking for an easy target. If they see something that looks of value, they’ll break the window or at least try to get in," said Commander Jim Munro, Grover Beach Police Department.
“We really see a large spike in credit card thefts. People leave their purses and wallets in the vehicles and thieves will go after those," Rehner added.
He said, typically, the thieves will immediately use the credit cards and buy gift cards which are harder to trace.
That’s why law enforcement officials stress the importance of not leaving purses or gifts in your car. But if you have to, put them in your car’s trunk, out of sight, and don’t forget to lock your car.
If you’re heading out of town for the holidays, be mindful of what you post on social media.
“We suggest that folks don’t post if they’re going out of town or the amount of time they are going to be out of town. Save that for after. We have seen instances where folks post they are going to be out of town and quickly become victims of some type of theft because people know they will not be home," Munro said.
If your car or house is broken into, police say as with any theft, report it to your local police department.