While law enforcement officials often warn area residents to take precautions against burglars during the Christmas shopping season, it’s also wise to be careful after the presents are opened.
District Attorney General Tony Clark said property crimes — theft and burglaries — are generally higher around the holidays than other times of the year. Those crimes include auto burglaries, home burglaries, theft and robberies.
“These are often crimes of opportunity,” Clark said. “Thieves look for easy pickings when shoppers leave packages in unlocked cars and look for houses to break into and steal other folks’ Christmas gifts and whatever else they find.”
After the presents are handed out and open, however, thieves still have plenty of opportunity when residents put out their trash, officials say. Christmas gift packaging is like a shopping list for would-be thieves because they can tell exactly what homeowners exchanged.
“While local police and sheriffs are making arrests and our office is prosecuting these crimes, the best way to prevent someone ruining your Christmas is to take steps to prevent any would-be Grinches from stealing in the first place,” Clark said.
“Parking in lighted areas, putting packages out of sight, locking your door and being aware of your surroundings” are good ways to deter a break-in, he said. “Making your home less attractive to burglars may help deter break-ins.”
Theft could be a misdemeanor or felony based on the amount stolen, but burglary and robbery are felony charges.
“It’s always a serious crime to the victim and can spoil the holidays. All offenses are serious and will be prosecuted accordingly.”