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“Go with your own instincts’ – Police urge the public to stay alert during the holiday season

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Reports of stolen vehicles are piling up lately.

A woman from Huntsville reported that she was assaulted and robbed Monday night, in the Providence community. In a post on Facebook, she wrote that her assailant went to her address and stole her vehicle while she was receiving stitches in the emergency room. The woman posted that she "chose to live here because I felt safe. I guess we are never too safe. We all need to be hyper alert of our surroundings. Watch your back at all times. I never thought this would happen to me."

When you are faced with a burglary, assault or car theft, it can be difficult to know how you should react.

"If you're being assaulted, by all means, defend yourself. Do what you need to do, scream get somebody's attention, try to get away, try to get help," said Sgt. Jonathan Ware with the  Huntsville Police Department. "If somebody's just trying to take your property sometimes it's best just to let them take the property. If that's all they're really after."

Ware said that if a situation feels unsafe, trust your instincts.

"If your gut is telling you something, you might want to listen to it. If you're like maybe I don't want to park here, then you probably shouldn't," Ware said. "Go with your own instincts. You're better safe than sorry in most circumstances."

Ware said to park your car in well-lit areas, travel in groups if possible and if necessary you can use your key as a weapon.

Police said the holiday season is an especially important time to stay alert.

"There are a lot more crimes of opportunity because people leave packages in their car," Ware said. "Instead of just getting out with a purse people will get out with a whole armload of packages. You're even more vulnerable."

Sergeant Ware said keeping an eye on your surroundings will help prevent you from becoming a victim.