VICTORVILLE Black Friday is looming just days away. And as residents gear up for a steady stream of trips to the local mall or shopping centers over the next month, deputies with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Victorville station are offering a series of tips to help shoppers stay safe through the bustling holiday season.

Officials advise:

Don't leave valuables in plain view inside of your vehicle. Conceal items by placing them in the truck before arriving at your destination.

Disable the trunk release button.

Park your car in a well-lit area close to the store.

Shop in a group if possible.

Hold your purse tightly on your shoulder, one arm grasping the strap.

Keep credit cards and cash in your front pocket for easy access and to prevent them from being stolen with your purse.

Call someone when you finish shopping to say you are leaving the mall.

Combine shopping bags to create the illusion of fewer purchases.

Have keys ready to open car door and walk with confidence through the parking lot.

Be aware of your surroundings and make sure no one is following you as you go to your car.

Place packages in the passenger seat and lock the doors after you get in.

Report any suspicious persons or activity to your local Sheriff's Department, or call 911 for emergencies.

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