Post-Christmas Thieves Target Homes

Christmas may be over, and all of your holiday shopping is done, but beware...grinches still abound.  In fact, would-be thieves take advantage of the post-Christmas week to scout the streets for signs of new Christmas presents.  "In the post-Christmas Day period, they troll neighborhoods looking for people that are on vacation," says Rich Emberlin, retired Dallas police officer and crime prevention expert.

There are several ways you can protect yourself from the post-Christmas grinches.  The first one is simple: don't make it obvious you aren't home.  "I was watching Home Alone, and some of that is so true...they sit around going okay, their lights aren't on, their lights aren't on, their lights are on so they're home," says Emberlin.  "You need to have your lights on a timer.  You've got to make the home appear like you're there," he says.  "A burglar, like lightning, takes the path of least resistance...if the lights are on, they are going to move on to the next house."

It's not only what is inside your home that thieves target this time of year.  "One of the bigger mistakes is people go on trips and they get boxes delivered to their front porch," says Emberlin.  Indeed, package thieves have been rampant in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Emberlin recommends having neighbors watch your home and pick up any packages that are delivered, or opting to pick up packages yourself from a distribution center.

Empty packages outside your home can be a big problem too.  Particularly, boxes to large items like televisions, computers or home stereo systems can signal to burglars what new goodies are inside your house.  Thus, you should never leave such boxes outside your home or along the curb.  "I'd leave them in the garage until you know the trash day is a certain day, and then put it out there right before the trash collectors show up," says Emberlin.

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