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TheStreet Open House

Holiday Shoppers Are Vulnerable To Parking Lot Theft -- Protect Yourself This Season

Stocks in this article: THG

WORCESTER, Mass., Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the 2012 holiday shopping season in full swing, many shoppers will find themselves spending time alone in parking lots and garages. This is also the season when thieves tend to become more active, targeting shoppers who are carrying more cash and presents. With this in mind, The Hanover Insurance Group offers tips to help prevent holiday shoppers from becoming victims of theft.   

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120404/NE82147LOGO )

"We want to believe the holidays are filled with kindness, peace and joy, but there are people out there haunting parking lots in hopes of taking advantage of the season," said Mark Desrochers, president, personal lines at The Hanover.

"Because a car break-in can be traumatic and leave you feeling vulnerable, and also bring with it car repair and replacement costs, we thought it was important to remind shoppers to be prepared before you hit the stores. We want to help to ensure you can enjoy the spirit of the holiday, without it being tainted by theft."

To be safer in parking lots and garages during the holidays and year-around, The Hanover recommends the following tips:

  • Choose Your Spot Carefully -- Do not park close to bushes, trees, walls, large vehicles, or any other obstruction that may provide a cover for criminals. At night, park in well-lit areas, ideally where others are coming and going.
  • Keep Your Valuables Out of Site -- Hide or remove anything valuable from the vehicle. Tablets, laptops, smart phones and navigational systems are popular targets for car burglars. They are easy to steal and conceal. If possible, leave them at home -- or at least -- hide them out of sight. If you accumulate shopping bags during the trip, store them in a locked trunk.
  • Lock-up -- All doors should be locked and all windows should be shut tight. Don't forget to lock the trunk if it doesn't lock automatically when you lock your doors. When returning to your vehicle, lock your doors immediately upon entering.
  • Use Alarms -- Set your car alarm before leaving your vehicle. If you do not have one, consider having one installed. Alarm stickers and decals are great visible deterrents. Others include steering-wheel locks and brake-pedal locks.  Even carrying simple items like a whistle, can be helpful to draw attention and ward off thieves.
  • Be Alert -- Always be aware of your surroundings, when parking and returning to your vehicle. Keep your keys in hand when returning so you can enter your vehicle quickly. It is always a good idea to check your back seat before entering your vehicle to be sure no one hiding inside.

Holiday shopping should be fun and by following these tips, it can also be safer.  

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