You can become a victim of theft during holiday shopping; How to protect your belongings

NORFOLK, Va. - It's the busiest time of year for retail. Shoppers are flooding into stores, but not everyone is out for the right reasons.

Portsmouth Police tells News 3 pick-pocketing from purses is very common. They suggest women to wear a purse with a strap going across their chest rather than on their shoulder.

"You lessen the likelihood of yourself becoming a victim of a purse snatching if you keep your purse close to you and maybe across your body," said Portsmouth Police's Public Information's Officer Misty Holley.

It's best for men to keep their wallet in the front pocket.

Police advise shoppers to not use cash, but instead credit cards such as pre-paid or gift cards.

If you have a bunch of shopping bags have your keys ready in your hand when walking back to your car.

"Park as close to the entrance as you can. Try to avoid those very dimly-lit areas," Holley said. Always park in a well-lit area."

Be sure to ask if there's security inside the facility to help avoid theft from happening.

"Our public safety officers are here to escort you back to your car, to help you put some of your packages in the trunk, lock the trunk and then come back and some more shopping," mentioned MacArthur Center's General manager Jim Wofford.

Take action to help prevent crime if you see any criminal or suspicious behavior happen.

"See what they're wearing, see how they're talking, looking at their facial features. Any scars, marks, tattoos, anything that you can remember," Holley added.

Click here for more safe shopping tips.