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Tips to keep your holiday gifts safe from thieves

8:20 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This time of year, many people are doing their last-minute holiday shopping. But, do you know how to help keep your family from becoming the target of Christmas criminals?

Danny Richardson and his wife have already done the Christmas shopping for their 10 grandsons.

"They're far away," he said as he played in a San Marco park with one of his grandsons. "We've had to buy stuff and ship to them."

He said he has an idea of what catches thieves' eyes.

RELATED: Last-minute shopping smooth at the St. Johns Town Center

"I know they like to look for packaging and things that's left out in the garbage and find out what's you've got," he said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has tips to avoid being a target for criminals this time of year.  

-When you get things like flat screen TV's or computers, break down the boxes and put them in dark trash bags before putting them outside for trash pick-up.

-Etch your driver's license number on all electronics and write down serial numbers and put the list with insurance documents.

RELATED: Many last-minute shoppers say they're using cash to be on the safe side

-Watch what you say on social media. "Don't let strangers know where you're going," said Bryan Pope, Vice President of Scott Alarm. "Especially on social media. Everybody likes to brag about where they're going during the holidays."

-However, Pope said to let neighbors know if you'll be gone. "The other thing is, is let a neighbor know where you're going. Or when you're out of your house so they can keep an eye. Neighbors are always good. Follow that up with use your security system."

-It's also a good idea to take pictures or videos of items in your home to create a home inventory.

It is all food for thought for Angela McDowell and her family, whom she has already shopped for.

"It's keeping us safe, you know, in a safe environment," McDowell said.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SAFETY TIPS FROM THE JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF'S OFFICE

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