NBC33 Safety Alert: Burglars target holiday trash

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 5:20pm

Christmas may be over, but holiday burglaries are on the rise. Law enforcement officers say that’s because people are accidentally advertising their brand new stuff.

It happens every year. You get big gifts and the boxes they come in end up on the curb.

“People are in possession of new items, more items than they initially had, and they’re displaying the items,” explains Sid Newman, the executive director of Baton Rouge CrimeStoppers.

What you trash could show off your brand new holiday treasures.

“Some people may take advantage of that, and say ‘well, if the boxes are outside, more than likely the property is inside, so I’m going to burglarize that house.’”

Newman says he sees these Christmas crimes happen every year, but there are ways you can keep your gifts from being grabbed.

“You don’t want to advertise the fact that you got a 40-inch screen or a 50 -inch screen TV or that you got a new microwave or whatever,” Newman says. “You don’t want to advertise what you got.”

Newman suggests tearing up the boxes and sticking them in a bag, or burning them completely. Just don’t leave them where they can be scoped out by potential burglars.

“They’ll ride around and look and they see an opportunity and they’ll take advantage of it,” Newman explains.

He also suggests writing down serial numbers from those presents and putting them in a safe place.

“If they are victimized and they do become burglarized, that’s the one bit of evidence that the police can say that the person is in possession of your property.”

Your trash can be very telling, and not just about the presents under your tree. Newman says folks can learn more about your habits from doing just a little dumpster diving, so he suggests shredding up anything that could give away personal information, like receipts and old credit cards, before tossing it.

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