Don't be a victim this holiday shopping season

- The holiday season is the prime time for thieves to target unsuspecting shoppers. A local initiative is aimed at sharing tips with consumers to prevent you from being a victim.

Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) is encouraging holiday shoppers to consider these few simple tips to protect themselves and their property during the busy holiday season:

- Don't leave packages in plain view
- Always lock your car
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Have keys ready as you walk to your car
- Give your keys up if approached by a carjacker

"We also tell you that if you're doing a lot of shopping and running packages out to your car in the middle of your shopping trip, get in your car and move it to the other side of the mall so that someone hasn't watched you put hundreds of dollars worth of gifts in your trunk," suggests Terri Miller, the executive director of H.E.A.T.

H.E.A.T. works with law enforcement agencies all over the state to collect information about auto-related crime through an anonymous tip line. Any suspicious auto theft activity or carjacking can be reported to the confidential tip line (1-800-242-HEAT) which is monitored by the Michigan State Police. H.E.A.T. rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the issuance of a warrant for a carjacking suspect.

For more information, visit www.miheat.org

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