LAS VEGAS -- The holidays are meant to be a happy time, but if you're not careful, they can also be dangerous for your family this shopping season.
Police say home invasions, car break-ins and thefts increase during this time of year. A crime can happen in a matter of seconds. Thieves look for easy opportunities, according to authorities.
Metro Police said some criminals are smarter than we give them credit for as they carefully watch for people who do not pay attention to their surroundings. These criminals are bold. Last week, a crook shot a holiday shopper in the leg as the victim brought a television home from the store.
"Parking lot crime is a pretty common occurrence, and there are many opportunities," Metro Police Crime Prevention Specialist Kathy Perkins said. "You have rows of unattended vehicles, many of which will have valuables inside."
"We really want people to walk away from the season with a joyous feeling, not a bad memory, so we want you to lock, take and hide your belongings and just kind of plan ahead and kick your common sense up a little bit," Perkins added.
Police said it's also important not to advertise what you just bought for your family. Crooks can see what you have just purchased by looking at the trash you leave on the curb.
Some shoppers are following the advice from police and watching their surroundings.
"I think you just see so much stuff on the news nowadays and, just to be on the safe side, you don't want to spend all this money shopping and then something happens where you can't take your gifts home to your kids," shopper Dennae Peoples said.
Metro Police offers tips to prevent you from becoming a victim of crime this holiday season.
1. Stay alert
2. Always lock your doors
3. Hold on to your wallet or purse
4. Enter and exit through main doors of stores
5. Shop in groups or pairs
6. Always have your keys ready when you're heading to your car or into your home
7. Observe your surroundings
8. Make sure you park in well lit areas
9. Keep your valuables out of sight in the trunk
10. Expect the unexpected