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It may be a cheerful time of year, but there are some people looking to deflate your holiday spirit. The Grinches, Scrooges, and nay-sayers can come in all shapes and sizes.

The Hartford area has had an increased number of car thefts, break-ins and vandalism so far this month. As members of this community we want everyone to stay alert and safe.

Here are a few tips to keep you on your toes and make sure no one stops you from putting presents under your tree:

If they see it, they’ll swipe it
You may think your windows are tinted, that your purse or wallet is hidden, or that no one would actually break-in. Unfortunately, if someone has the intention of taking your purse, they’ll take it. The best way to avoid theft is to bring your purse with you. If it’s not something you want to schlep with you, put it in your trunk. If they can’t see it, they may just assume it’s not there.

Park under lights
Whether it’s at the mall, a coffee shop or the gym, parking can often times be a pain. However, the next time you visit one of these places, try to park closest to the lights. Well-lit areas are known to be the safest parts of the parking lots.

Never leave your keys in the car
It sounds simple right? Why would someone leave their keys in the car? But how many times have you pulled up to your friend’s house, gone inside and just left your keys in the cupholder. Or pulled up to the gas station and instead of turning your car off and letting it get cold, you leave it running and quickly pop into the quick-mart for a coffee. Don’t take a chance. Being conscious of this can prevent car theft.

Always lock your car
Your driveway can be the easiest target for car vandals. It’s very common that people who park in a driveway, not a garage, forget to lock their cars. Just because it’s your property doesn’t mean delinquent kids or long-time thieves won’t break-in to your car. A locked car is safer than an unlocked car! Speaking of driveways, motion censored lights on the exterior of your house will also deter theft!

The big takeaway here is to be aware. This post isn’t meant to scare you, but just to keep you alert! While most of us are focused on giving, some people want to take. Keeping valuables concealed, parking in well-lit areas, taking your keys with you whenever you get out of the car and being sure to double and triple check that you locked your car can help keep you and your belongings safe!

Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday!

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