Be wary of thieves as the holiday shopping season begins

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It’s almost that time of the year: stores will be busier than usual with shoppers picking out the perfect present for loved ones this holiday season.

“When I go back to Japan for the holidays, they like me to get something from Hawaii,” said Salt Lake resident Hitomi Tanaka.  

But experts say, shoppers must be mindful of being vulnerable to thieves. 

“There’s more opportunities that are available to the crooks,” said Lee Donohue, who retired as Honolulu Police Chief in 2004. He now owns his own security company. 

“They’re going to take advantage of this (holiday season). The sad part is, it’s supposed to be a good time with family and friends and you’re buying gifts,” he said. 

Shoppers need to keep an eye out when they’re out and about. 

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to lock your car. No matter if only for a few seconds.”

Donohue says one-third of all reported car break-ins on Oahu are because doors are unlocked.

“In my experience, they hit so fast. We had cameras up on the Pali lookout. These guys went in, broke into a car, and in 6 seconds they were gone.”

“I think one of the worst things you can do when you’re shopping is take your goodies, put it in the car and then go shop more,” he added, as seeing shopping bags make your vehicle a prime target to thieves.

With Black Friday just around the corner, security experts also suggest carrying credit or debit cards only. Leave the cash at home. 

In addition, don’t leave your bags in the car; try not to text or use your phone when walking through a parking lot so thieves don’t catch you off-guard, and 

This holiday season, experts suggest carrying credit or debit cards only; don’t bring cash. 

Like Donohue says, don’t leave your bags in the car, and try not to text or use your phone when walking through the parking lot, so thieves don’t catch you off-guard. 

Another tip: carry your car key fob in your hands when walking to your car with your purchases, as it can act as a personal alarm. 

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