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How to keep yourself and your packages safe while shopping this holiday season

Whether you like to get your holiday deals in-person or online, Portsmouth police have some tips on how to keep you and your packages safe

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Once the turkey has been eaten and extended family has gone home, many people will start their holiday shopping.

But busy parking lots and Amazon deliveries don’t come without risks.

Whether you like to hop in your car and head to the stores or shop online, Portsmouth police have some tips on how to keep you and your packages safe this holiday season.

If you like to go in person to the store, they say you should shop with a friend or in a group, park in a well-lit area, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Never leave your car running, unattended and don't purchase more than you can carry.

Double-check that your car is locked and carry your purse close to your body or your wallet in the inside pocket of your jacket.

It's also not a good idea to leave spare keys in your car.

"90% of the vehicles are unlocked that report being broken into," said Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince.

He says during the holidays, they’re putting as many officers as they can on the street in what he calls the ‘holiday patrol.’

"We focus on areas that are generally high crime areas during the holiday seasons. We make ourselves known in parking lots, in markets and other business places where robberies occur."

If someone does try to rob you, police say to cooperate with the suspect and call 911 when it’s safe to do so.

If you’re someone who likes to shop online, there are a few things you need to know as you wait for your package.

Portsmouth police say you might want to consider having your packages sent to your office or head to one of Amazon’s local pick-up lockers.

You can also request signature confirmation on your orders, or just ask a friend or your neighbor to keep the package at their house until you can get it.

Once you and your purchases are safe in your home, there are steps you can take to keep it that way.

Keep your windows and doors locked, leave outside lights on at night and close your blinds.

Portsmouth police also recommend cutting back shrubs close to your home, photographing and recording your valuables, and avoiding leaving electronics boxes visible on your curb.

They also say it’s a good idea to avoid talking about travel plans online and while you’re away, have your mail held at the post office until you get back.

The Portsmouth Police Department says you should report all suspicious activity to the non-emergency number.

If you see a crime in progress, call 911.

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