Avoid the Grinch during the holiday rush

Attention Christmas shoppers! You now have one week to find that perfect gift. Crime Tracker reminds you of some ways to.Lt. Lee Newkirk, Shelby Co. Sheriff's Dept. said, "If you go to the mall shopping, the safest way to go of course is to have someone drop you off. That way you can call them and they can come pick up."

Santa parks his sleigh at the mall. If you drive yours, remember the security guards with the whirling yellow lights can help you to and from your vehicle. Naja Dollar, Wolfchase Galleria said, "Don't hesitate to ask for a security escort. If you're leaving and you're uncomfortable, we will be more than happy to escort you to your car and give you a ride to your vehicle because that's what we're here for."

Purses make a tempting target for the Grinches out there. So if you must carry one, experts say you should pocket your credit cards and I-D, and leave out precious jewelry and other valuables. Lt. Newkirk said, "If you have valuables in your purse and someone grabs it, your first thought is to grab back. And that's what's dangerous. The criminal will throw you to the ground and they'll get that purse one way or another." Dollar added, "When you go out to your vehicle, don't leave your packages in full view. It's a common sense approach to most of it. Don't leave your purse, never leave your purse or cell phone on the seat. Never leave anything valuable. It's just too tempting for people that are less scrupulous than the rest of us." Remembering these tips will safeguard your Christmas cheer!

Here are some other quick reminders.

Don't overload yourself with packages. Stay alert.

Be aware of your surroundings: pay attention.

Park in well lit areas away from decorative bushes.

Lock your car; roll up your windows; be especially alert in parking decks and underground garages.

Have your car keys ready before heading to the parking lot.

If you buy a new computer, T-V or other big electronic appliance, break up the box and bag it. Dragging it to the street for garbage pick up lets everyone, including criminals, know what you have inside your home.