TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The hustle and bustle this time of year can be a distraction for some, making them an easy targets for thieves.
Each year, police see an increase in shoplifting and smash-and-grab car break-ins during the holidays.
Gary Hartfield was out shopping for groceries, but still has some presents to buy.
"These people, they do this every year. Just like everyone else is on the Christmas rush, you know they are too. To steal from you," Hartfield said. "So you've just got to be careful and watch out. Watch out for your stuff too."
Joanne Segura says she has started taking her dog along for protection when she and her granddaughter Ava go out.
"It's precautionary because my girlfriend was robbed yesterday in Toledo. Her home was," Segura said. "And they stole thousands of dollars of jewelry. So this is the time of year and you just can't be too cautious."
If you leave bags of any kind in your car, they could become a crime of opportunity. Police urge you to hide your belongings, clean out your car following shopping trips, and always lock it up.
Thieves often loiter in parking lots looking for a quick, nonviolent robbery. Police will be out, but they recommend taking every precaution you can.
"Number one, always be aware of your surroundings," Capt. Joe Heffernan of Toledo police said. "Number two, try to shop with somebody if you can. Number three, be aware that while you might start your shopping during the day, it gets dark very early so try to park under some lights."
Some extra things to remember ahead of heading to the stores: Carry your purse next to your body with the purse flap against you. Men should carry their wallets in front or inside pockets.
Officer also say do not hesitate to notify the police or store security if you see suspicious activity. If you are waiting for a ride or to meet up with someone, do so in a busy, well-lit place.
Finally, try to use a credit card when you can. If you prefer to use cash, be smart with it. Split it up in different amounts and store it in different secure places. This will allow you to pull out a limited amount rather than displaying all the cash you have.
Keep in mind wherever you go someone is always watching, and it may not only be the big guy in the red suit.
Remember, if you remove the temptation, you are less likely to become a victim.