The days and weeks leading up to Christmas can present some prime opportunities for thieves, leading area police departments to share some tips on social media beyond the usual reminders to make sure a vehicle or house is locked up and valuables in vehicles are out of sight.

The prolific rise of online shopping in recent years has meant many more packages delivered to houses – many times with nobody home.

Police advise people to sign up for delivery alerts from the shipper, require a signature if possible or arrange for post office pick-up.

Also, one could ask a trusted neighbor to pick up and keep the package until the recipient gets home, and one could offer to do the same for a neighbor.

The bottom line, police say: avoid leaving unattended packages on the front porch for extended periods of time if at all possible.

For extended stays away from home, it's not a bad idea to have a family member or trusted friend check the house and gather mail and/or newspapers, police say.

When going out shopping, police remind people to park in well-lit areas at night and have their keys ready when they reach their vehicle. Inevitably, some people will make multiple stops in a single trip.

“Car prowlers target parking lots all throughout the holiday season,” Kansas City Police said, “in anticipation of busy people leaving packages in their cars while shopping.”

To ward off becoming a theft victim there, police advise people to hide packages or gift bags in the trunk, cover them with a blanket or conceal them under a seat – anything to make them not visible.

“Don't make your vehicle a target,” KCPD said. “Remember, crime is based on easy opportunities.”

Or, if possible, Independence Police said, “Take a break and go home to unload your purchases between stores.”

Even after those gifts have been unwrapped and removed from their packaging, police advise come caution when disposing of packaging, especially with larger boxes. Don't just leave them visible in the trash on trash days, but rather break them down.

“This is an advertisement for thieves,” Oak Grove Police said about leaving big boxes out.