SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — The Sevierville Police Department is asking citizens to take the proper steps in preventing car break-ins and purse snatchings.
The number of purse thefts and car break-ins normally increase during the holidays, according to the SPD.
There are some simple steps that the SPD shared to ensure that you don't become a victim.
Never leave your purse unattended. Purses are often stolen from shopping carts or from dressing rooms where a purse may be left alone for a moment.
Make sure all pockets and openings are closed, zipped and fastened when placing your purse in a shopping cart. If the cart has a seatbelt or strap, use it to attach the purse to the cart.
When you are holding your purse use the strap to wrap the purse firmly around your shoulder or in front of your body and always be aware of your surroundings.
"If you leave items visible in your car, you are a target," the SPD said in a Facebook post.
Be aware that someone may be watching as you put a wallet, purse or cell phone under your seat or out of sight in your car. It is best just to take these items with you.
Make sure to lock your vehicle and take your keys even if you are just quickly running into the store.
You'll want to park you car in your garage if possible. If not, try and park in a well-lit area. Check to see that your car is visible from the street or from your house. After parking, take the time to look around and assess your surroundings.
Installing alarms and lighting controls is beneficial in that you can be easily alerted if someone is trying to break-in to your car.
A car break-in could lead to a home burglary. If the garage door opener or house key is inside the car, a criminal can easily gain access to your home. It is recommended to not leave outgoing or incoming mail in your car or any other item that would make it easier for a criminal to find your address or enter your house.
The SPD emphasizes the importance of following these steps in a Facebook post.
"Often these crimes of opportunity could have been prevented by sound security practices," the SPD said. "Besides the loss of personal property, victims may also have to contend with costly damages to their vehicle."