Christmas shoppers don’t just have to be cautious of getting their purchases stolen while out and about these days, but also when shopping online, as packages may sit on door steps and porches for hours, Radcliff Police Department Chief Jeff Cross said.

“A lot of people shop online and when those packages are delivered, they’re out there in the open,” Cross said. “More and more we see things being taken that way, not just at Christmas, but all year.”

Cross said the best way to keep packages from being stolen is to be aware of when a delivery may be made and to team up with neighbors to look out for each other.

“Ask a neighbor to help out and to even put them in their house for you until you get home,’’ he said. “You don’t want them out there for a long time.”

As shoppers hit stores around the county, Cross said being aware of your surroundings and not getting distracted by the shopping experience is key to having a safe shopping experience.

“People need to make sure they are hanging onto their carts and not leaving a purse unattended,” he said.

Elizabethtown Police De­part­­ment spokesman John Tho­­­mas said it is best to shop dur­ing the day, but if someone shops at night, they should not be alone, if possible.

“It’s important to be vigilant during the holiday season, especially when shopping or otherwise out in public,” he said. “Remember, criminals require ability, desire and opportunity to commit a crime. Your vigilance and efforts to protect yourself are key to removing the opportunity.”

Thomas also advised not to carry a purse or wallet and said using a wristlet or cardholder that can be carried in a front pocket is safer.

Cross and Thomas said the holiday shopping season brings out more thefts because of the increased opportunity.

“During the holiday season, we typically see an increase in certain types of property crime, to include thefts from vehicles, purse and wallet thefts, theft of packages and mail matter and credit card fraud,” Thomas said. “Thieves and scammers take advantage of the opportunity afforded by people being distracted and busy with shopping, travel and other activities.”

Parking a vehicle in lighted areas when shopping is re­com­mended as well as not leaving packages in clear view in vehicles for thieves to see.

“We see burglaries and robberies go up some this time of year,” Cross said. “People should leave more lights on at home or at their businesses, too. That will help.”

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com

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