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While we see the holiday shopping season as festive, police say crooks see it as a feast to take whatever they want.
"You let your guard down and your potentially become a victim and that's what we don't want," said Officer Craig Allen with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police. "These criminals are very opportunistic. They want the easy target. And unfortunately, there's enough people out here that make it easy for them."
In the past couple of weeks, CMPD has investigated several crimes where the victims have been followed home and then robbed in their own driveways.
Officer Allen says they're not sure where the criminals are following them from but says being alert is key.
"Take a couple extra turns to see if you're being followed," he advised. "I hate to say it over and over, but the alertness. Not paranoid, but be alert. Know who's around you and be aware that there are people out there that may be watching."
Officer Allen showed WBTV around a local neighborhood Thursday pointing out how folks make themselves vulnerable to crime.
"If you have big boxes, cut them up before you put them on the curb," he said.
Also important: giving your home what he calls a lived-in look.
"If you leave your blinds open, maybe just shut them a little bit so people can't window shop," he pointed out. "Have dusk to dawn lighting on the outside or at the least motion sensors at a minimum."
CMPD will also send an officer out to your home to conduct a free security site survey to make sure you are doing everything you can not to become a victim of crime.
If you contact your division office, they will also make arrangements for an officer to do a security zone check while you are out of town this holiday season.