LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It's the season for giving, but for some it's also the prime time for taking. Little Rock Police said every Christmas season, thefts and robberies tend to rise but there are ways to protect yourself.
Parking lots are prime areas for thieves to scope out their victims. That's why police said when you're walking to and from your car, it's best to keep your head up and on the swivel.
"If you are on your cell phone, at least keep your head up and look at people that are around you and make eye contact with those people. So at least those people know they've been seen by you and you can identify them if something does happen," said Officer Bruce Jones with Little Rock Police.
He said the element of surprise is what those thieves are looking for and when you're back is turned, you become a perfect target.
"One of the most vulnerable times that you have when you're out shopping is when you're exiting your vehicle or getting back in your vehicle with your presents or packages or whatever you may have purchased," said Officer Jones. "Have things in such a manner that you can get out of your car quickly and re-enter your vehicle quickly without having your back turned to people for an extended amount of time."
To keep those Christmas presents you just bought from being seen and stolen, your trunk is your best option, but if you are approached by someone demanding your money or your bags, it's best to hand over what you have and get away.
"Give those packages up. Let's not try to escalate the situation. Let's give the stuff up and try to move away from the situation and get help," said Officer Jones.
To keep your home and belongings safe, follow these tips released from the Cammack Village Police Department:
• Strive to make your home look as lived-in as possible while you're away.
• Don't display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from windows or doors.
• Don't advertise that gifts have been purchased by leaving boxes for the garbage collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, non-clear garbage bag, or flatten for closure in a recycle bin.
• Don't broadcast your plans, but do let your neighbors know that you'll be gone.
• Give a spare key to your neighbors and give them an emergency telephone number to reach you.
• Arrange to have your mail and newspapers picked up daily (preferred) or have delivery stopped while you're away. Ar Democrat Gazette (501-378-3456) U.S. Postal Service (800-275-8777)
• Do not allow UPS/FEDEX to deliver packages to your residence while away.
• Use automatic timers to turn on a radio, lights, etc., at different intervals.
• Leave your blinds as you normally would if you were home.
• Be sure to lock the garage as well as any storage sheds, gates, etc. It's also a good idea to disconnect your garage door opener if you have one.
• Ask your neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway and put out your garbage cans if you have curbside pickup.