HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many are enjoying the festive season of the holidays by spending time with family and buying gifts for loved ones, but police said this is also the time when many let their guards down and thieves are looking for an easy target. 

It is the last few days before Christmas with crowded streets and shopping centers, many are just trying to keep up. 

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Kehulani Ward was shopping at Kahala Mall for last-minute gifts. She said, “It’s pretty busy, parking is difficult to find so it’s definitely busy.”

The holidays are also a time when people are distracted with plans, retail experts said this is the perfect time for crimes of opportunity. 

The Retail Merchants of Hawaii President Tina Yamaki said stores are reporting an increase in theft. 

Yamaki said, “They’re seeing it more and more in the stores, you know, the grabbing goes to people of all ages who are coming in and stealing in the stores, we see the same repeat offenders coming in.”

Yamaki said shoplifters are stealing all sorts of items, from food and coffee to make-up and electronics. 

Maui Police Department Sergeant James Terry said it is not just retailers that are vulnerable, he said customers storing away bags in their car and then returning to shop some more could be a target. 

Terry said, “Put it in your trunk and then come back and park in a different area so that they don’t know that you have gifts in the car, because they are going to be looking in the car they are not going to take the time to actually gain entry into your car and then pop your trunk.”

Finding another parking stall could take a while during the busy season, but Terry said it is worth it over getting a window smashed. 

He said, “It’s a perfect crime for opportunity because people because they are out shopping or in a festive mood and they are not really paying attention to what they are doing and they are not watching who is around.”

Mail packages left outside your home could also attract unwanted activity, being a good neighbor is more important than ever. 

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Nuuanu resident Miliama Iloilo said, “We’ve had neighbors whose packages have been taken in the past so I know our neighbors in Nuuanu look out for each other if there’s a package and our cameras alert us we’ll ask our neighbor if they’re home.”

The Honolulu Police Department Crime mapping showed at least 240 instances of theft and larceny reported in the last week.