By Suzanne Monaghan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Black Friday marks the official beginning of the holiday shopping season and police have some safety tips to help make sure a Grinch doesn’t steal your Christmas.

It’s the most common holiday shopping mistake: you’re rushed and distracted and accidentally leave your car unlocked and your packages uncovered — and you return to an empty car.

“There’s other people shopping,” said Captain Chris Bird, with Upper Merion Police. “Only there not shopping in the stores and they don’t intend to pay for their purchases.”

Upper Merion Police is the department that covers the King of Prussia Mall area. Captain Bird says shoppers need to park smart.

“I would say park in a well it area where there is a lot of foot traffic,” he said.

And don’t carry too many bags at once. It makes you an easy target.

“Be aware of your surroundings, know where you are,” Bird advised. “Take the time to make sure that you’ve locked the car. Make several trips out to the car and try to hide the stuff.”

Steps that will take a little time — but will save you more time, money and aggravation.