British Columbia

Make sure thieves don't have a merry Christmas at your expense

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers says crimes involving burglary, theft and vehicle break-ins spike around Christmas and that calls for vigilance.

Crime Stoppers calls for vigilance at home, at the mall, in your car and on transit

Crime Stoppers says there are plenty of Grinch-like thieves looking to steal packages from cars or swipe deliveries from front stoops during the holiday season. (Warner Bros.)

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is warning people to watch out for thieves this Christmas.

The organization says crimes involving burglary, theft and vehicle break-ins spike around Christmas and that calls for vigilance.

"Make sure you're always looking around at who's watching you, not only from a theft perspective but also a personal safety perspective as well," executive director Linda Annis told The Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

How you practice vigilance depends on the situation, she says.

If shopping at the mall, avoid bringing parcels to the car and then going back inside, she says. Never leave valuables in the back seat, either.

If you're in a crowded place, like public transit, watch out for someone bumping into you. They could be attempting to pick your pocket.

When expecting a parcel, don't ask the delivery person to leave it on the stoop. Have it sent to your work or to a neighbour, if possible.

Once you or your loved ones have opened their gifts on Christmas Day, be careful when disposing the packaging. It can serve as an advertisement about what kind of appealing items are in your home. Annis advises cutting up boxes and putting them in a recycling bin so they are less visible.

Even holiday displays aren't safe: Annis says outdoor decorations can be stolen and if you're running a cord from inside the home to power lights, don't do it through an open window, as this can provide an entry point to a burglar.

Listen to the full interview:

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition