Stop crooks from ruining joyful time

By Liz Dobson

Holiday shoppers need to be alert, says Liz Dobson

Never leave your car running unattended - not even in your driveway - no matter how quick the errand.'
Never leave your car running unattended - not even in your driveway - no matter how quick the errand.'

Tis the season to spend this weekend driving around and around malls trying to find a carpark, but that also makes it a popular time for thieves.

Parked cars full of Christmas shopping and laden shoppers wandering around carparks trying to find their vehicles make easy targets.

If possible, park near high foot-traffic areas of parking buildings when shopping.
If possible, park near high foot-traffic areas of parking buildings when shopping.

But you don't need to go from "ho, ho, ho" to "no, no, no" this weekend when you're driving around town, trying to find those gifts.

Instead, here are some hints from the police on keeping safe this festive season.

• Be alert when entering carpark buildings, basements or other enclosed areas. Try to park near an entrance or exit, ramp or staircase, where there is likely to be a stream of activity.

• If you will not be returning to your car until after dark, consider the area you are parking in - is there adequate lighting?

• Avoid, if possible, parking in quiet or isolated areas.

• Always lock your car when parked, and remove valuables. Any items left should be placed out of sight.

• Never leave your mail in your vehicle when shopping, it gives car thieves your address and they can target your home when you're obviously away.

• Do not leave presents or other valuables such as your GPS unit or phone visible in your car.

• Secure personal items such as your handbag in your car, lock the doors then unload the shopping into the boot. Don't leave your handbag in the shopping trolley as you unload.

• It may be summer but when driving through the slow speed carparks keep your car windows closed and doors locked to prevent thieves leaning into your car and grabbing valuables.

Never leave your car running unattended - not even in your driveway - no matter how quick the errand.'
Never leave your car running unattended - not even in your driveway - no matter how quick the errand.'

• Never leave your car running unattended - not even in your driveway - no matter how quick the errand.

• Install an alarm or immobiliser.

• Park off the road and if possible in a locked garage.

• Never mark your keys with your name and address.

Don't leave your handbag in your car.
Don't leave your handbag in your car.

• Remove valuables such as purses, mobile phones, laptops, fishing rods and cameras from vehicles.

• Do not hide spare keys inside or on your vehicle.

• Take your GPS unit with you when you leave your vehicle - don't forget to remove the support cradle, suction pads and marks off the window. Avoid leaving your GPS in the glove box or centre console - these are the first places thieves look.

- NZ Herald

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