Criminals view the Holiday season as a welcomed opportunity to burglarize homes for cash, credit cards and gifts. To avoid becoming a victim this holiday season, the San Angelo Police Department would like to suggest some tips.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment— even if it is only for a few minutes.
- If you display a Christmas tree, don’t display it and gifts in the front window so they are easily visible from the street. It is too tempting for a potential criminal to smash a window and grab the gifts or plan a later break-in based on their earlier observations.
- Don't advertise! Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, accumulation of newspapers, mail, or fliers hanging on doorknobs. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers.
- 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 in the most obvious place— near the front entrance. DO NOT hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, under doormats, or above door ledges. Instead, give the spare key to a trusted neighbor.
- Burglars look for easy opportunities and prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows. A problem can occur if you display exterior Holiday lighting and the extension cords run inside through a window that prevents it from being secured.
- Don't post your family name on your mailbox or on your house. A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone number and call your home while in front of your home to confirm that you are away.
- Don't leave descriptive messages on your telephone answering machine such as: "You have reached the Marshalls; we are out of town for the Holidays." Thieves like to hear that they have plenty of time to burglarize your home.
- Leaving town for the holidays? Have the San Angelo Police keep an eye on your home while you’re away by signing up for the House Watch Program, call (325) 481-2696.
- Don’t advertise on social media that you are on vacation or away from home.
- Keep thieves from swiping packages from your doorstep by requiring a signature on all package deliveries. You can also write specific instructions for the delivery company on where to leave your package, and don’t forget — you can always have your packages delivered to the delivery company’s office for hold, or, sent to you at work (Providing your boss is not the Grinch).
- If you celebrate Christmas, after Christmas Day, don’t pile up empty gift boxes such as, your new computer, DVD player, or gaming systems on the street for garbage collectors. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break the boxes down or cut them up to better conceal the items.