HONOLULU (KHON2) — Police arrested several juveniles they said could be responsible for a number of robberies in the Ala Moana area recently. It’s a reminder to everyone to remain vigilant this holiday season.

Christmas is right around the corner, with many heading to malls and shopping; but two former police officers said the holiday season brings holiday crime.

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Sheryl Sunia, a retired Honolulu Police Department Detective said, “This is a season where people may not have the jobs to get the items that they want for their family or for themselves. So they’re going to look for vulnerable people.”

And, it’s already happening.

According to HPD’s crimemapping website, a string of three robberies were reported around Ala Moana Center on Sunday, Nov. 13 and Monday afternoon, Nov. 14. In the last week there were two car break-ins and eight thefts in the area.

“It’s definitely the season to provide opportunity for the criminal element,” said Ed Howard, owner of Pax-Bello Security Solutions.

Howard, who is also a retired HPD, gave tips on how to prevent being targeted.

His two main pieces of advice: Pay attention to your surroundings and don’t shop alone.

“You want to be just really common sense about things,” Howard said. “Not too paranoid but you got to be aware of what’s happening.”

He said don’t get overloaded with bags– it’s better to shop on multiple days. And whatever you do, don’t put your bags in the car and go back to shopping.

“It’s a bad idea,” he explained.

“There are organized groups, theft rings. They’re watching, and they will see that. And, when they see that, they can take advantage,” said Howard. “These groups know how to break into cars within a matter of seconds, and they have it down to a science, and they know how to escape.”

Howard also said it’s better to use credit cards instead of carrying cash and suggested parking as close to the entrance as possible in a well lit area.

“So if you’re coming out of a store after you’re shopping, your focus should now be getting safely to your vehicle,” explained Howard.

According to Howard, when you walk to your car, walk with purpose, don’t be fumbling with your phone or your bags. And when you get into the car, lock the door, start the car and leave, don’t just sit there.

“This drives me nuts,” he said. “They sit in their car. They leave their car door open and they sit in their car and they’re like totally vulnerable,” Howard added.

Howard said you should also avoid parking next to large vans with sliding doors or walls that could be used as hiding spots.

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Howard also said if you feel uncomfortable going to your car alone, you can call security for an escort.