How to avoid being a victim of theft this holiday season

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -  Black Friday is the unofficial kickoff to holiday shopping, kicking off a season of big spending, and big theft.

Police are on alert with everything from bait cars and parking lot patrol.

But there's a lot you can do to safeguard your purchases.

"Lock your valuables in your trunk, if you've got an SUV, take them out of your front seat put them in the back," said Lieutenant Ron Strecker with Midwest City Police.

You're reminded to keep everything out of view in the car, and make sure the car is locked.

But that need to safeguard follows you home.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that last year, two-thirds of all theft happened at residential properties.

Usually thieves are looking for those easy steals: porch pirates scooping up purchases sitting at your doorstep. But more brazen criminals may be looking for a bigger prize.

So security and retail experts encourage you to refrain from leaving electronic item boxes in visible areas in your yard as this will draw unwanted attention. That laptop or TV box may be trash to you, but thieves sometimes see it as advertisement of the valuables inside your home.

Experts say cut them up, flip them inside out, but whatever you do, don't leave them visible in your front yard.

If you are an online shopper, security and retail experts recommend you to schedule packages to be delivered when someone is home so you don't fall victim to porch pirates. Also, keep those serial numbers because police can use them to track down stolen property.

These tips are useful year-round, but are particularly crucial during the holiday shopping season.

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