Tampa Police have advice on protecting yourself and your valuables as you shop this shopping season

Mall parking lot - one stop shopping for crooks

TAMPA - With the official shopping season now here, the malls and mall traffic, will now continue to pick up.

Why? Because the mall is easy and convenient, everything we need under one extended roof. But that ready and available retail is also great one stop shopping for crooks.

So how do you make sure you and your valuables are as safe as they can be? First let's start with your personal safety.

According to Sgt. Greg Coller it all starts with being aware of your surroundings.

Pay attention to people around you so no jumps out at you while getting into your vehicle.

Also have your keys out so you are ready and you are not fumbling around and distracted.
"Be in pairs, or shop with somebody else," he said.

Sgt. Coller says there is strength in numbers.

"That's always going to be a lot better than by yourself."

And always try to park as close to the door as you can where there are plenty of other people around.

And so how about when you are shopping? What should you do with what you might have already picked up? Throw it in your trunk. Do not leave anything within eye sight.

If you do Coller says you are just inviting someone to break your vehicle's window to grab it.

So make your car look as empty as possible so your holiday will be as rich as possible for you and not a crook.

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