Hide, lock, take: Protecting your property this holiday season

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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With the holidays upon us and gift shopping underway, being extra diligent when it comes to protecting your property could save you from becoming a victim.

After this past weekend's string of car burglaries in Walton County, the local sheriff's office is reminding people to hide, lock and take.

"Always make sure your vehicle is locked. If you're at your house, out at the store, anywhere, just make sure the vehicle is locked because that's the way you make yourself an easy victim of vehicle burglary," Lieutenant Scott Hogeboom with the Walton County Sheriff's Office said.

Targeting vulnerable victims, these criminals are looking for crimes of opportunity.

"The criminal element likes to prey on them, so while people are in there shopping, they tend to walk around peoples' vehicles to see if they can find any unlocked, can see anything in clear view like purses or anything like that and then they go in the vehicles," Hogeboom said.

Officials recommend keeping valuables out of sight and putting items like your purse in the trunk of your car. The same goes for your home security.

"Put all the effort in to make sure that your house is secure, your vehicles are secure. That limits you from being a victim. [I'm] not saying it always will, but you're taking the extra steps making sure everything is secure, it helps us. The majority of our vehicle burglaries are unlocked vehicles," Hogeboom

Officials say if you find yourself a victim, don't touch anything and call law enforcement as soon as you can so they can process the scene.