Police call it a crime of opportunity, thieves stealing gifts and personal items from your car while you shop.
Cary police are starting an effort called "Operation Safe Shopper," which includes as many as six off-duty officers keeping an eye out at Cary Towne Center and at Crossroads Plaza through the month of December.
Even though police are not reporting any recent crimes at Cary Towne Center, they want to make sure shoppers are safe.
WNCN went along with Cary police through the Cary Towne Center parking lot and found items such as wallets, video games, and shopping bags all sitting out in the open, prime for the taking.
Lt. Steven Wilkins with the Cary Police Department said leaving items in out in the open will make you a target. Wilkins suggests locking important items in your trunk.
"A trunk is a hard thing to break into," Wilkins said. "If you throw it into the front seat of the car, a window breaks very easily. But if you put something in the trunk ... a trunk is hard to get into. It's the safest place."
If the trunk is full, police suggest throwing a blanket over valuables in the backseat. They say you should also be aware of your surroundings. Shop with a friend and travel light to make yourself less of a target.