Holiday shopping kicks off this weekend and the AAA Auto Club wants consumers to take steps to guard themselves against theft.
More than 253,000 thefts occurred in Ohio during 2011. Nearly 25 percent of those occurred from motor vehicles. When shopping this holiday season, AAA encourages shoppers to stay vigilant and take steps to prevent theft.
"First of all when you are shopping at night make sure you park under a light and that's going to be a deterrent to thieves and that's also going to enable you to check around your vehicle to make sure nobody is lurking when you get in your vehicle make sure you lock the door immediately and drive away. Don't just sit there and put on make-up or talk on the phone. Get in the car lock the door and drive away as soon as you can," said AAA Spokeswoman, Kimberly Scwind.
If theft does occur a homeowners or renters insurance policy can help replace what's lost.
"You really need to make sure that you have those receipts so you can prove what you purchased so it's a good idea to instead of keeping the receipts in the shopping bag put them in your wallet and keep them with you at all times," said Scwind.
AAA advises the best tip is to stay alert. It's easy to get caught up in the holiday excitement but it's important to be aware of your surroundings at all times to avoid becoming a target.