Local News

The Holidays Mark a Prime Time for Thieves

Posted December 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— The holiday season is a busy time for many of us. We're decorating our homes, shopping for gifts and preparing for relatives and friends who will soon visit. We're often so busy that we forget to keep an eye out for thieves, who may have an eye on our homes and what's inside.

Many of us are going to be spending a lot of money on high ticket items like jewelry and computers for our loved ones, and that's what criminals are counting on. They're just waiting for the right opportunity to do some holiday shopping in your home.

When you think about the holidays, you usually think of home. Unfortunately, so do criminals. December is a peak month for home break-ins.

"The people that decide to break into the properties know that there are gifts there and that people are away vacationing, so they feel it's an opportune time to break in," explains Officer Angela Tucker.

Eubanks doesn't take any chances when she travels. She knows an empty house is an open invitation for holiday thieves. That's why she always makes sure the police or neighbors know when she's out of town.

Officer Tucker says leaving things piled in the yard is a dead giveaway for crooks. She says, if you can, make it seem like someone is home by having someone pick up your mail and your newspapers.

Even if you're staying put for the holidays, experts say don't put your gifts near windows or doors where they can be seen, or someone could end up stealing your holiday cheer.

There are some other things you can do to try and protect your home. Officers suggest getting automatic timers for your lights, and if your're going out of town and are expecting a delivery, ask a neighbor to pick it up for you.

Finally, if you do have any of those high ticket items like computers or stereos, don't put those boxes out on the curb. That's also a dead giveaway for thieves.