We all know how the Grinch stole Christmas, but the green grump met his match in Calgary's finest this morning at Sunridge Mall.

"Nothing brings a thief more joy than a car or home full of shopping bags and gifts," the police said in a statement to launch Operation Christmas Presence.

The initiative reminds the public to keep purchases out of sight in their cars and homes, giving thieves less reason to break in.

"When you're out shopping, so are criminals," police said. 

All Valuables Removed placards

The police, AMA and Calgary Transit encourage the public to use these free placards to dissuade would-be thieves from breaking into or damaging a vehicle that has nothing of value in it. (Stacee Barton/CBC)

Suggested ways to decrease car thefts:

  • Lock your vehicle, using a steering wheel lock and/or car alarm.
  • Store all purchases in the trunk and ensure all valuables are out of sight.
  • Periodically check on your vehicle.
  • Don't leave your keys in the car while it's running.
  • Park in a well-lit, well-travelled area.

Meanwhile, at home:

  • Don't display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window.
  • Don't keep receipts with your presents, as a thief could return goods for cash.
  • Use a timer and lights when you are away and ask a neighbour to keep the front of your home clear.
  • Don't hide spare keys outside. Instead give the key to a trusted neighbour.
  • Don't say you're away on your telephone answering machine.
  • After Christmas, don't pile up empty gift boxes on the street for the garbage man.

Police are reminding shoppers to lock their purchases in the trunk, or at least out of sight from potential robbers ... and Grinches. (Stacee Barton/CBC)