While present procrastinators have avoided Christmas shopping until the last minute,  and will now make a daring dash to fill the wishes of their loved ones, Erath County residents are being warned that in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the crooks of Christmas are lingering.

To help avoid some holiday dangers, Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant is offering tips for a safe holiday.

“This is the time when last minute Christmas shoppers head to the Metroplex for some serious shopping,” Bryant said. “You and your purchases can quickly become the target of thieves.”

• Pay attention to what is going on around you.

• Always lock your door. Lock all purchases in the trunk or cover them with a blanket. Never leave your purchases in plain sight.

• Never leave your purse or wallet in your vehicle. Keep all of your valuables with you at all times. Leave anything that is not necessary, including extra credit cards, safe at home.

• Never leave your purse open, in a shopping cart or unattended.

• Always be discreet about the amount of cash you are carrying.

• Carry your wallet or checkbook in a front pants pocket to make it difficult for pick pockets to take.

• Try to finish your shopping before dark and never walk around shopping centers alone. After dark, it is best to have a security guard escort you or keep watch until you are safely at your vehicle.

• Have a prearranged meeting place in case you get separated from your family.

• Carry a recent photo of all of the children in your party in case you do get separated and you need assistance finding them. Make note of what everyone is wearing so they can be easily identified.

• Remind your children that police officers and security guards are there to help.

• Never allow or send a child to shop or go to the restroom alone.