Cheir Vande Vegte.

Holiday shopping is underway from home and out at stores this year, and both methods can cause you some problems if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says if you go out don’t get caught up in the excitement and forget some simple things. “When you are filling up your gas tank at gas stations, make sure that you lock your doors. don’t leave your wallet or purse laying on the seat,” Vande Vegte says. “Do not leave your car unlocked or unoccupied idling in a driveway or at a store.” He says if you are going to different stores — put the things you have bought in the trunk or out of sight in your car.

Vande Vegte says be aware of strangers that may approach you. “Be wary of strangers coming up to your door and asking strange things — they’re probably trying to case you out or get you to look away — and somebody might be on the other side of the car and they might steal something,” he says.

Vande Vegte says home shoppers need to take steps to prevent porch pirates. He says if you are expecting packages from online purchases you might consider getting an outside camera. Or you can put a large decorative piece on the porch which the packages can be hidden behind to keep them out of view of thieves. There are other precautions you can take as well.

“If you are expecting a high-dollar item or expecting something to come at a certain time — try to be home or ask somebody to look for the item for you,” Vande Vegte says. The Le Mars Police Chief also reminds you to not sit out empty boxes with your trash to clue in thieves about items in your home they may be interested in.

(By Dennis Morrice ,KLEM, Le Mars)