Marion sheriff offers tips to keep holiday shoppers safe and packages away from thieves

Christmas shopping can be fun, exciting and exhausting. But above anything else, it always should be safe.

With that in mind, here are a few tips from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to make sure that you stay safe while buying presents this holiday season:

  • Don’t be distracted when leaving the store (texting, talking on the phone, etc.).
  • Remain alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
  • If you see a suspicious person lurking near your vehicle, press the panic button on your remote, then step back into the store and call law enforcement.
  • When you need to put gifts in your vehicle, don’t leave them in the open, visible from the outside. Place them in your trunk or a covered cargo area – out of sight.
  • After putting packages in your vehicle, if you plan to continue shopping move your vehicle to a different parking spot on the other side of the shopping center so it looks like you are leaving.
  • Park under a streetlight if possible, even if it is daylight because it might be dark by the time you return to your vehicle.
  • Park as close to the store’s security cameras as possible.
  • Don’t try to conceal gifts or other valuables on the floorboard behind the front seat.

Those who are shopping online also need to take extra precautions when having packages delivered to their homes. Those include:

  • Track deliveries and make sure someone is at your residence to receive packages when they arrive.
  • Consider requiring a signature for your delivery or have it delivered to your place of employment.
  • Consider installing a camera system like those that replace your doorbell and can record any activity on your porch and send that video directly to your smartphone.
  • Report any suspicious vehicles or activity to law enforcement immediately, including a description and as much information as you can.