The holidays are just around the corner and local law enforcement agencies are reminding residents to take a few precautions as they head prepare to travel or go shopping.

"As the holiday shopping session approaches, Waveland residents need to be increasingly cautions about protecting themselves from crimes of opportunity," Waveland Police Chief Mike Prendergast said Wednesday. "Every year during this time of year, one thing that stands out is so many of the break-ins and thefts occur because people leave their cars and homes unlocked, and many times valuables such as purses, electronics and merchandise are left in plain sight.

"We encourage citizens to beware and take some simple preventive measures to reduce the probability of becoming a victim."

Prendergast said police urge a "Shop Smart" routine that includes three easy steps:

• Remove or secure valuables.

• Lock your vehicle.

• Take your keys with you.

"Lock or secure our valuables and packages in the trunk of the vehicle," Prendergast said. "If there is no trunk, keep them hidden from plain sight. Also, drivers should not leave a vehicle running and children should not be left alone or unattended in a vehicle."

The Waveland Police Department also issued the following holiday safety advice:

Tips for safe shopping

• Dress causally and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

• Shop with a friend and watch out for each other.

• Shop during daylight hours, if possible.

• Secure wallets or purses so they cannot be grabbed or lifted.

• Put the purse strap over your body and your wallet in a front pocket.

• Don't carry large amounts of cash; safeguard your credit cards; and protect your PIN when you use a keypad.

• Park in well-lit areas and make a note of the lot and row number to make sure you remember where you parked.

¨Avoid parking next to vehicles with tinted windows.

• Have your keys in hand for quick entry when returning to a parked car.

• Keep an eye out for suspicious people or activity.

• Keep packages and valuables out of sight. When your car is filled with goodies, do a home drop-off and then return for additional shopping.

Tips for package delivery

Online shopping creates deliveries, and the holidays bring out "porch thieves" who comb neighborhoods looking for packages.

Police urge these steps:

• Track deliveries by using email notifications.

• Have the package picked up or delivered to a friend or relative who is available at delivery time.

• Have deliveries sent to our office or workplace, or have them shipped to a location where the package can be held for pickup.

Tips to avoid burglary

• Once your house is full of gifts, the risks aren't over. You might be advertising that your home is now a good target for burglars. Here are some tips:

• Don't advertise what you bought or received by leaving boxes at the curb. Break down boxes and dispose of them quickly.

• Use caution on social media -- don't post about the great gift you received.

If you're traveling

• Have someone you trust check on your house while you're gone.

• Stop or have your newspaper or mail picked up.

• Set an automatic timer for your lights and consider a timer to turn on a TV or radio to make it sound like someone is home.

• Set alarms and double lock doors.

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