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Holiday season brings rise in theft crimes

Friday - 12/9/2011, 4:06am  ET

WASHINGTON -- The holiday season is here, and so is the annual increase in crime. This year, however, the problem is compounded by the tough economic times.

"Most chiefs would tell you that during the holiday season there is often an uptick in crime," says Frederick Police Chief Kim Dine. "Shoplifting, there has been an uptick in that."

"A lot of the big box stores really struggle to combat shoplifting during the holiday season," he says.

Dine says shoppers can do a better job of crime prevention by simply paying attention to their surroundings.

"You see sometimes folks walking with multiple packages in their arms and they're still texting and talking on the cell phone and not even paying attention to where they are or what's around them."

The best precautionary tactic is to keep your purchases out of sight, Dine says.

"We recommend that folks, when they're out shopping, that they not load their vehicle up with gifts and presents that are visible to the public."

Then, he says, once all of the presents are unwrapped, "make it less obvious that the house is now filled with new electronics and new presents."

For example, don't leave out the box to your new flat screen TV at the end of the driveway.

WTOP's David Burd contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)