MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – When you are out and about this holiday season the first thing on your list should be safety.

While many were out in the town celebrating the holiday and doing a lot of holiday shopping that is prime time for thieves to strike but there are some way you can protect yourself.

Sargent Allen Payne of Midland Police Department self defense is about paying attention.

“The best way to describe self defense is self awareness because a lot of times that’s what it’s going to be about, says if you pay attention to the situations you’re in a lot of times you’re not going to have to defend yourself.”

Even the one thing we rely on can be a distraction.

“It’s basic things like paying attention to your surroundings not staring at your electronics as you’re walking not looking for keys as you walk to your car having those things prepped,” Sgt Payne said. “A lot of times that is going to negate the issue of being attacked.

Sargent Payne says if you feel something is off stay wherever you are and even ask for help.

“If you are out there at night stay under the lights there is nothing wrong with asking a employee to walk you to your vehicle,” Sgt Payne said. “You can even call the police department and say ‘hey its late we just closed down our shop we would like to get escorted to our vehicles’ and the officers will come out and do that.

The holiday shopping season brings out more predators and police say they’re look at what you are holding and what’s in your vehicle.

“With all holiday seasons property crimes goes up and sometimes that turns into a person being attacked it could be a theft from a person where they are walking with bags or could be they are leaving bags in a vehicle that everybody can see so somebody breaks that window and takes them out,” Sgt Payne said.   

Sgt. Payne says if you plan to protect yourself using any device, make sure you know how to use it.

“Number one whatever you are carrying you have to be comfortable with it,” Sgt Payne said.

He encourages everyone to take a self-defense course.

“It’s not a quick fix but it’s just kind of an introduction to letting people know what they are capable of,’ Sgt Payne said. “A lot of folks have never trained in a way to where they know what they’re capabilities are until they are put in that position.”

If you are getting that last minute shopping in try to shop during the day and if you do go out at night, park in well lit areas with a lot of people around.