Mahoning Township Police Chief Ken Barnes offered some holiday crime prevention tips for shoppers.

He said, "The holiday shopping season is here again. This list of safety tips is as important as your gift list. Check this list twice before you head for the stores this year."

Ÿ Be alert and aware. Be attentive to your surroundings at all times.

Ÿ Do not carry more cash or valuables than is necessary. Be discreet so that you do not attract attention.

Ÿ Take extra precautions with your wallet or purse. Carry your purse close to your body. Place one end of the purse in the palm of your hand and the other in the bend of the elbow. Never wrap the strap around your body.

Ÿ Allow for darkness. It gets dark early this time of year, so be sure to factor this into shopping plans.

Ÿ Instruct children on holiday safety measures. Know where your children are at all times. Before going shopping, decide where to meet if you and your children should get separated.

Ÿ Always lock your car doors and remember where you park.

Ÿ Be sure to put valuables out of sight (i.e. packages, purses, mobile phones, CDs, etc.). Place them in the trunk or take them with you.

Ÿ Never hide spare keys in or on your car. These hiding places are easily discovered. If you need spare keys, keep them in your wallet or purse.

Ÿ Be alert to suspicious persons or circumstances. Avoid parking where you see someone sitting in their vehicle for no apparent reason.

Ÿ Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a situation, report it to security immediately.

Ÿ When walking in any parking lot, grocery store, airport, shopping center, etc., walk confidently with your head up, make eye contact, and have your keys ready.

Ÿ Report all suspicious activity.