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122215(09)-?Tis the Season to be Jolly and Aware of Thieves, Burglars

Holiday Crime Prevention Tips
'Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be wary of burglars, thieves, and other holiday grinches ? and nothing can ruin the Christmas spirit faster than becoming the victim of a crime.
Unfortunately, burglars view the holiday season a little differently?for them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarize your home for cash, credit cards, and gifts. The following are a few strategies that will help you protect your home and enjoy the holidays without incident:
  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes.
  • Don?t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it's easily visible from the street. It's too tempting for a potential criminal to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages or plan a later break-in based on their earlier observation.
  • Don?t advertise ?Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, mail, or advertising flyers hanging on the doorknob.
  • If you?re leaving town for the holidays, add your residence to the Department's House Watch list. Register online at http://bit.ly/SAPDHouseWatch or call the SAPD's Desk Duty Officer at (325) 481-2696.
  • Don?t leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, ?You?ve reached the Wilson's?we?re away skiing for the Christmas holidays?please leave a message.? Bad guys love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
  • Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • If you go out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or television so the house or apartment appears to be occupied.
  • Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. Don?t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead, give the spare key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows. A holiday problem can occur when exterior Christmas light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured.
  • After Christmas day, don?t pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, or stereo receiver on the street for the garbage man. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break the boxes down or cut them up and conceal the items in dark-colored lawn bags, then wait to discard them in your recycling bin until your trash pickup day.
We hope you find these tips helpful in protecting your family and home this Holiday Season!