The holiday season brings more than twinkling lights and retail discounts, police said it can also bring criminals.
"You will see an increase of thefts from vehicles between now and Christmas because people will be purchasing more valuable goods and forget to lock their cars," said Sgt. Eric Crane of the Annapolis police. "If people leave anything of value in an unsecured vehicle, it will be taken."
Crane called these "crimes of opportunity"—meaning your car is more likely to be broken into if there are visible shopping bags or valuable items in your car.
He recommends placing all bags and packages in the trunk.
"Many people carry bags to their car and then continue to shop," Crane said. "Did someone watch you load the car and then leave?"
He also suggested parking in well-lit areas and making sure to lock your vehicle's doors.
Annapolis police responded to 19 calls for thefts from vehicles in November 2010, but that number jumped to 45 calls in December 2010. In 2011, the numbers evened out with 21 calls for thefts from vehicles in November and 19 in December.
The average holiday shopper will spend about $750 on gifts, greeting cards and decorations this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.
To make sure someone else isn't doing their Christmas shopping on your dime, police also recommend regularly checking your bank account and credit card balances during the holiday season.