Because of the recent spikes in brazen robberies in New Jersey, authorities are warning you to be extra careful as the holidays approach.

Townsquare Media

With the arrival of the shopping season, some criminals get desperate and resort to crimes of opportunity. This can include everything from homes, cars, banks or even unsuspecting shoppers.

Sometimes, there's not much you can do, but stay vigilant and keep your eyes peeled. That is not always easy when Santa is on the way and you have a boatload of things on your mind.

Al Della Fave, with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, describes this as "shopper fog."

He said when you have all of these things on your mind, such as shopping lists, recipes, family arriving, it can be very stressful and sometimes your mind drifts.

"We need everyone to be aware of their surroundings and be mindful that there are people out there who wish to take their stuff or even do them harm," Della Fave said.

If you are ever in a hold up, Della Fave warns to don't ever try to fight them, especially if they are armed.

"Hand over the belongings and try and get a description in your head of what they look like," he urged. "Anything that can possibly identify them for a quick apprehension."

Other tips Della Fave offered:

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
  • Always carry your driver's license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.