Nashville Police Sergeant Billy Smith spent much of his Saturday being a third eye for holiday shoppers.
He says during the holiday season, a lot of people fall victim to crime. Smith is just one of many Nashville officers sharing safety tips as part of their "Park Smart" program.
"This is a perfect opportunity for thieves to go out and prey on people that are in the giving spirit," said the sergeant, who is a member of the auto theft unit.
Much of the crime happens right in the mall parking lot.
"Just as you're looking for that perfect parking spot, there's people in the parking lot watching you," Smith said.
Smith says the best advice to shoppers is to lock your car and take the keys.
"Since, I'm here with my wife, lots of times I'll go as far as I'll leave my keys or something and she'll have hers," holiday shopper Levi Watson said, "which is probably a real dangerous thing to do," he added.
"We've had 41.4 percent of our vehicles taken, with the keys in them," Sgt. Smith said. "That's almost 50 percent of the vehicles stolen have the keys in them."
Smith said shoppers should think like a thief - if you see something in your car that you want, hide it.
"GPS's you know, cell phones, personal items, purses, bags," Smith said.
"Back when external GPS's were in, I left it in the window and I came back and the glass was shattered. The GPS was gone," Watson said. "I learned that the hard way."
Putting your valuables away before you get to the store is best. It's the common sense things, people forget during the holidays police say.
"Be very safe, don't become a victim and have an enjoyable and safe holiday season," Smith said.
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