6 police tips to keep your car, gifts secure during holiday shopping – El Paso Times

It’s Black Friday, and if you’re going to join the hordes of shoppers kicking off the Christmas shopping season, the El Paso Police Department has a few tips to keep you and your purchases safe.
The department’s Auto Theft Task Force offers these holiday shopping tips to help reduce the chances of falling victim to a car thief or burglar:
Find a parking space as close as you can to the store entrance and under a light, if it’s dark. Make a note of any nearby signs, poles, or other landmarks to make it easier to find your way back. Try to avoid parking next to large vans or SUVs that give a thief privacy.
It may sound obvious, but law enforcement professionals say that many thefts are the result of unlocked cars. Double check to make sure you close the windows and lock all the doors before leaving the car. And don’t forget the sunroof.
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Don’t leave packages, phones, music players or other valuables on the seats, floor, dash or anywhere in sight. Lock items in the trunk or otherwise stash them out of sight. Even a cellphone cord is an invitation for trouble.
If you come out of the store to drop off a load of packages, move the car to another space before going back for more shopping, or, better yet, take them home. Criminals might be watching and know you won’t be back for a while.
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Pay attention to your surroundings while walking to and from your car. Walk with a purpose and stay off the phone. Have your keys ready as you approach the car, and get yourself and your packages inside quickly. Then lock the doors.
This also might seem a bit obvious, but nearly half of all stolen vehicles have the keys in them. It is against the law to leave the keys in an unattended vehicle.