CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Police are increasing patrol and warning shoppers to always be prepared when returning to your car and home with merchandise.

Public Information Officer Sgt. Bryan Walker says one of easiest ways to avoid a confrontation with a robber on the way to your car is to keep your eyes up and a hand free so you don’t fumble around getting into the car.

“Most bad guys don’t tend to go after someone that appears confident, and that they believe is going to look at them, remember them, and possibly identify them later on” Walker states.

Some citizens choose to carry deterrents like mace with them to feel more comfortable and prepared. Sgt. Walker says tools like mace and pepper spray may not make the attacker stop, and that it is safer to leave your items and get away.

“It’s not going to prevent someone from completing an attack on you or carrying out an attack on you, it’s more designed to allow you to get away” Walker claims.

Some other common thefts that occur especially around the holiday season are thefts from cars.  When items are left in visible sight, your car can become a common target for a theft according to Sgt. Walker.

“Most of the breaking and enterings for vehicles that we have, the item that was taken, whether it be a laptop and a laptop bag, or a purse, or Christmas presents, or this kind of thing, are left out on the seat and obvious where someone can walk by and see them” Walker says.

There are several ways to prevent a person from breaking and entering into your car, and it can be as easy as locking the doors or putting your items in the trunk. Sgt. Walker says most of these thefts are crimes of opportunity.

“They don’t want to go to the effort to break that glass or pry open that car door, not only because it just takes more effort on their part, but it also creates noise and they spend more time in a car if they’re doing that, and a lot of them just aren’t willing to do that, so lock your car” Walker states.

These tips may not prevent a theft from occurring, but they could reduce the chances of it happening.

For more information on how to stay safe during the holidays, click here.