SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – As the clock ticks down on the hours left until Christmas, many people are cramming in last minute shopping. As you finalize your lists, be aware of what is going on around you.

Shopping is a part of the holiday bustle. Across the US, people can be found buzzing around, in search of their final few gifts needed for family and friends.

“It was kind of hectic, especially with the cashiers,” said Karin Tillotson, last minute shopper. “I had to get something for my son and some stocking stuffers. But that’s about it, I’m done!”

Others were found on Thursday patiently waiting in long lines to cash in on some of their year’s hot ticket items.

“I’m getting a PS5, about to become a member of the rich man’s club. I have been looking for it all year,” said James Madison, holiday shopper.

As you cross off your list, make sure you are also keeping your safety in mind.

“You know, during this time when people are crunched to get those last minute gifts in, we kind of lose our situational awareness. We are so focused on getting those last presents,” said Chad Ayers, with the Proactive Response Group.

Ayers specializes in situational awareness and is offering best ways to stay out of harms way this holiday season.

“As you are walking out, don’t have your cell phone in your face checking your Facebook or Instagram. Have it in your hand but be aware, take a look, don’t think that you have to walk straight there. Come out of those doors, take a look around,” explained Ayers.

He also is reminding us to, if possible, travel in groups of two or more and park in the most well-lit areas.

“If something raises your suspicion or you are just not comfortable with or you feel like you are being followed, there is nothing wrong with not going to your car to put those gifts in there. Go inside. Most of the malls around here have security guards or people that will escort you to throughout there,” said Ayers. “Unfortunately, there is still an increase of crime across the country right now and we don’t want you to be a victim.” 

The Proactive Response Group said if you observe any suspicious activity or are approached by someone who is attempting to rob you of your belongings, notify your local law enforcement. Officials will do their best to follow-up and replace anything that may have been stolen.

Additionally, keep in mind what you post on social media.

“We live in a world of social media. Everyone wants to post on their way to grandmothers. This is a good way for criminals to prey on victims. They see that you are not at your residence,” said Ayers. “You have just has two TVs presented to you, a new bike, all of these gifts that are now left at your house. You are posting it on social media for people to say I am headed up to grandmothers in Pennsylvania for the week and all of these presents are there. So, just be cautious of what you are putting on social media about your location during the holidays.”

Spartanburg’s West Gate Mall is offering extra shopping tips around the holidays. Click here to learn more.