'Tis the season for thieves to prowl mall parking lots looking for Christmas gifts left in shoppers' cars, trucks and SUVs.
That's why volunteers with the RCMP and City are patrolling retail areas in an effort to reduce the chance of people having an unmerry Christmas.
"If you do not leave anything of value in your vehicle, the chances of it being broken into are very limited," Sgt. Scott Wilson said Tuesday.
Police receive several reports a week about laptops, purses and wallets being stolen from vehicles, some of which are left unlocked, he said.
Wilson said crooks will break into a vehicle for small change. Adding the allure of iPods, cellphones and other would-be gifts increases the chance of a break-in.
The City and RCMP debuted the Safe for the Season program last December, with volunteers out in high-visibility vests talking to people about how to keep their vehicles secure. Wilson said the program was successful enough that it's back for another season.
Sandro Piroddi, crime prevention co-ordinator for the City, said community safety volunteers will patrol retail outlet parking lots and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
The volunteers will also hand out tip cards to educate consumers about preventing theft from vehicles. Piroddi said RCMP auxiliaries will go inside stores and educate staff about fraud and shoplifting.
Safe for the Season patrols have been conducted for the last couple of weeks in Aberdeen, Sahali and the downtown. Wilson said more than 3,500 tip cards have been handed out so far.
Patrols will continue into Dec. 29.