MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Bargain hunters were out awfully early Friday morning getting a jump start on their holiday wish-lists.

The National Retail Federation says 140 million shoppers will search for the best deals this weekend.

Wal-Mart reported more than 22 million customers came through the doors between 6 and 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night.

And they bought more than just doorbusters.

Target’s CEO says customers bought 1,800 T.V.s and 2,000 videogames a minute overnight.

With so many deals around during the holiday shopping season, it can be easy to get distracted.

Police officers want to remind shoppers to be vigilant about their safety.

So, Nina Moini has three simple ways to protect yourself and your belongings this holiday season.

Black Friday’s just the beginning.

“There’s always great deals, so I got a lot of random stuff I don’t need,” Megan Johnson said.

For the next month, holiday shoppers stocking up will be looking for deals…

“The dress alone would have been $90 regular day, but I got everything here for $85,” another shopper said.

John Elder with the Minneapolis Police Department says criminals will also be looking for opportunities.

“We see a real spike in thefts and thefts from motor vehicles,” Elder said.

He says it’s important to pay attention both inside and outside the stores with three key strategies.

First, don’t leave your purse and cart unattended, even for a minute.

“A couple feet away and your back turned to it makes you completely vulnerable,” Elder said.

Second, Elder says once you hit the parking lot try and have one free hand, and don’t get distracted by your phone.

“We see also a raise in people getting hit by cars and other incidents in parking lots. People need to really be aware of their surroundings,” Elder said.

And third, when you get in your car, lock the doors immediately.

Elder says it’s not about being paranoid this holiday shopping season, it’s just about staying aware.

“If you see something that’s not quite right, head back in and notify security or call police,” he said.

Nina says police also recommends doing shopping when it’s light out whenever possible or parking in the most well-lit are of the parking lot.

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