JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Shopping centers are packed this time of year. Mostly with shoppers, but there are some grinches in the crowds waiting to steal your Christmas cheer!

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office warns that parking lots are a place you especially need to have your guard up during the holidays. Before you even walk away from your car, make sure any bags, electronics or cords are not visible. That's all eye candy for thieves looking for something quick to steal.

If you feel uncomfortable walking to your car after shopping, ask for help.

"Sometimes you just get that gut feeling, something just isn't right. If you don't feel comfortable where you are at, ask for security to walk you to your car," says Melissa Bujeda with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

If you have to buy something expensive like jewelry or a TV make it the last thing you buy that day, JSO said. Thieves will watch what store a person leaves from.So if you leave from a jewelry store and put a package in your car, then head back into the mall, theives know what you left is likely expensive.

Even consider the placement of your purse. Hold it on the shoulder closest to the parked cars.

"So if a car does drive by and it has happened here in Jacksonville, a car will drive by and the passenger will reach out and pull your purse right off your shoulder," explains Bujeda.

For more tips from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on how to stay safe this holiday season, click here.