You may be filled with feelings of joy, sharing, and happiness during the holiday season, but criminals are not. In fact, many common thieves look at Christmas as a time to take advantage of everyone’s good will. We tend to be more relaxed and will often overlook signals or security issues that we would be keenly aware of at any other time.

One hotspot for criminals is the local shopping malls. Shoppers are constantly pulling their wallets out of their pockets and purses, making it very easy for criminals to see who is holding the golden bounty. Be aware of your surroundings and try to shield yourself when possible. Consider carrying one card and keeping it in your front pocket at all times.

Going out to the car is another area where shoppers are susceptible to thieves. Their hands are full and they will often have bags stacked well above eye level. If someone is fiddling for their keys with full hands, it is quite easy for a thief to either take the bags or rob them outright. If you know you are going to have a lot of bags, bring a friend to help. You should also have your keys at the ready before you get close to the car so you can put everything away quickly and avoid being marked as a target.

Home security is just as important during this time of the year. Motion sensors around the perimeter will make it easier to see when you arrive home from your many shopping trips. The lighting can also alert you if someone is staking out your home. You may also want to consider some type of security monitoring so you can identify anyone coming into your home.

With so many people coming and going, it is very easy to leave the door unlocked, especially if you are having a holiday party. Regardless of how inconvenient it may seem, take the time to lock the door at all times. Station a family member close to the door so they can see everyone that is coming and going. During parties, secure all important family belongings in a safe or a locked closet where they cannot be easily taken by a roaming guest.