You've probably heard this before...the holiday season is also a bonanza for theives and burglars in New Jersey. Police all over the state have been reporting on an uptick in thefts from cars in shopping parking lots and home burglaries...not unexpected as residents find themselves away from home a lot more, taking care of Christmas business. Criminologist Nick Irons of Morris County College says the common sense rules are simple. He says the best thing citizens can do is to keep their houses secure..that means locked...and keep their vehicles also locked and secure at all times. ..

For your home, same strategy as when you vacation...make it look occupied, even when it's not. And don't leave purchases and presents in your car in plain view. Police say it's surprising to them how often people make that mistake. Nick Irons says a big part of your strategy to deter thefts and burglaries right now is to avoid looking like and being an easy target. They also advise that when you are out shopping during this season, you might consider taking along a friend or relative.

There is, after all, strength in numbers.