Preventing a Holiday Home Break-In - WSET.com - ABC13

Preventing a Holiday Home Break-In

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Lynchburg, VA - According to the FBI, between November and December every year in this country, 400,000 homes are burglarized. It makes sense; a lot of folks are out of town, homes, left dark and desolate, the time is prime, for burglars to break in.

Santa Claus may not be your only visitor this year.

"Most criminals are looking for the opportunity and sometimes around the holidays, we give them more opportunities" said Steven Wood, of the Lynchburg Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit.

He says criminals come down the chimney every year.

"If you're away, have somebody watching your place for you" said Wood.

Wood sees the same unfortunate scenario play out every year; home owners helping criminals with clues they're out of town.

"A big indicator is those mailboxes filling up or packages on the front porch. It's a whole lot better idea to have a trusted neighbor pick those up for you" he said.

And don't stop there. Here's a Christmas crime prevention check-list: Don't leave your house key under the door mat... that's the first place a criminal will look; leave lights, outside, and inside on when you're away; and don't leave clues that you've left town; posts to Facebook, and descriptive answering machine messages are big no-no's.

"If they see some obvious patterns and then some drastic changes, and the house is dark for three or four days in a row, they're looking for that" said Wood.

Wood said holiday break-ins are down in the Hill City from last year. LPD officials attribute that to more neighborhood watch groups.

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