Crime and criminals never take a holiday and are always looking for a gift that's a real steal, says Salt Lake County Sheriff N.D. "Pete" Hayward.

With law enforcement agencies receiving the usual increase in holiday season theft reports, Hayward makes the following suggestions for thwarting holiday crime:- While shopping, keep gifts and packages in the trunk or out of sight.

- Don't leave your purse or wallet unattended.

- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry that might attract the wrong kind of attention.

- Large amounts of cash can be an open invitation to a thief, so carry credit cards or personal checks instead.

- Record credit card and check numbers in advance of shopping. This makes it easier to report if they are lost or stolen.

- Ask for the carbon slip when making a credit card purchase.

- Lock your home and car.

- Make your home look like someone is always there.

- Park your vehicle in a lighted, well-traveled area of any parking lot you use.

- Be on guard for scam artists. Remember - if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.