HOUSTON -

'Tis the season to shop and be merry, but beware there are plenty of Grinches out there ready to steal your joy and your stuff.

The Houston Police Department has a holiday reminder for all of us: safe shopping starts with you. That's the name of their campaign this year to get us to all be aware when we're out shopping.

HPD has some advice: watch out for distractions. A woman talking on a cell phone while grocery shopping can easily become a target when she turns her back to her purse in the cart.

Also be careful of one person talking to you while your back is to your purse. In this scenario the shopper is again distracted allowing for another suspect to steal her wallet or purse.

So what is the proper way to carry your purse? Not in a shopping cart, or in your hand but instead on your shoulder.

HPD also wants to remind everyone a cell phone is often a distraction that thieves look for when choosing victims.