It's the time of year when the holiday grinch rears its ugly head.

Thieves are wasting no time taking advantage of the season by preying on shoppers at retail sites such as Kennewick's Columbia Center Mall, Richland's Uptown Shopping Center and West Richland's Kennedy Center Mall.

"Folks don't like carrying all those bags around and want to head out and put them in their cars and leave them vulnerable for people out there preying on our citizens," says West Richland Police Commander Mitchell Coates. "Keep things covered up, keep your vehicles locked."

A locked vehicle doesn't always deter theft, however. Thieves will often break windows to get into vehicles because they've learned certain vehicles are easier than others to steal. Police say using a steering wheel lock can serve as a visual deterrent.

Pasco Police
Pasco Police
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It's also the season for porch pirates. A new report says $8 billion of goods were stolen from private properties and/or never reached its intended recipient due to theft in the past year. 44 million Americans have been victimized by porch pirates in the past three months.

"Keep an eye out for your neighbors. Watch if they've got packages. If you've got packages coming, coordinate with a neighbor to grab them for you." Commander Coates said. "A lot of times with technology now, we can keep in touch with our neighbors via text message, or different apps to communicate."

Security cameras can be your and police's best friend as well.

"So, if something happens, we know where and who to go to, collect some of that data. Any video, photo is better than nothing."

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10 Items You Should Never Leave In Your Vehicle - Thieves Love These Items

We've all been guilty a time or two of leaving one or more of these items behind in our vehicles. However, thieves love these particular items for the ease of making some major cash down the road. Find out which items make the cut in our list below.

Gallery Credit: JD Knight

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