The holidays are a time of hustle and bustle, when we are likely to find ourselves in shopping centers, welcoming visitors into our homes and have a large number of expensive items wrapped and ready for gift giving.Unfortunately, this is also a time of year when many crimes occur. The following tips will help you stay safe, and enjoy the holidays. Shopping■ Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member and park in an area with adequate lighting.■ Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.■ Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.■ Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.■ Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.■ Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.■ Be sure to locate your keys before going to your car.■ Remain aware of your surroundings at all times and move to and from your vehicle with confidence and purpose.■ Keep a secure hold on your handbag and shopping bags. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.■ Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area or insufficient lighting.■ Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Online Shopping■ Links in emails, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often how criminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, it’s best to delete it.■ Don’t share personal or financial information over an unsecured network (a connection that doesn’t require a password for access). Using the direct web access on your phone (via 3G/4G connection) is safer than an unsecured wireless network when on your mobile device.