You picked out the perfect Christmas gift and had it delivered right to your door.
But before you ever get it opened, someone takes it right off your doorstep or even from under the tree.
What are the mistakes folks make?
Who better to explain it than a law enforcement officer who’s been burglarized himself.
“You’ve been broken into yourself”
“Twice,” explains Sgt Jimmy Hollingsworth of the Port Wentworth Police Department. “The first time was Christmas eve 2007 someone broke in and stole my kids christmas presents and my duty weapon. nine months later they broke into the same house.”
After a pair of break ins at his own home, Sgt Jimmy Hollingsworth has made it his goal to make sure no one has to go through what he did.
“What’s that like to get broken into”
“Its crappy,” said Hollingsworth. “You feel violated, you really do.”
Now Hollingsworth can walk through a neighborhood and point out what’s wrong, or what criminals see as a perfect opportunity.
“Take this house for instance,” points out Hollingsworth. “They will see packages sitting by the door and no one is home. They’ll take the packages.”
“I would put a note telling them to put it by the side door, at least right here its covered and its not out in the open.”
“Whats the biggest mistake people make?”
“They don’t let people know, they just go.”
“Say they are going on vacation, even for a couple days, we will let the police department know we will actually let the patrol guys known which houses to check, what cars should be there.”
“Are neighbors actually in some ways better than the police?”
“They are,” said the Sgt. “they are home right then, know what’s going on a know decriptions of people. they are home daily, so they know if something doesn’t fit.”
“Everyone is in a hurry to get someplace, they leave a back door or just a window unlocked.”
“Timers are a great thing. Set your timers, or when you leave leave a tv on and a couple lights on in the house to act like you are home.”
“If you are in the neighborhood like this, you see one house that is dark, one that is light they will go to the house thats completely dark.”
Along with the tips, Hollingsworth has a message for the criminals.
“We are watching you, neighbors are watching you and family are watching you and we take our job seriously.”
Police also say don’t get specific on Facebook where you are or when you might be coming back. Crooks now look online for clues and potential victims.
Your local police department will help out over the holidays, if you tell them you’ll be out of town.
Cameras always help – on the porch or at the front door, because it’s much easier to catch a burglary suspect if you know who they are, and can see their face.