According to data from the Columbia Police Department, burglaries increase in December, right around the holidays.
Officials urge holiday shoppers to keep new gifts or items out of the spotlight inside their homes.
“If you have a Christmas tree up and you have presents surrounding the Christmas tree, don’t leave your window open in plain view where people can see all the presents that you have under your Christmas tree,” said Bryana Larimer, a public information specialist with CPD.
While people continue to mob malls this time of year in search of the perfect present, many people opt to buy online.
But CPD advises purchasers to keep track of when those items are going to be delivered.
“One thing you want to be conscientious of this holiday season is making sure that if you’re ordering online and you’re getting packages, don’t have them delivered to your home during the day when you’re not going to be there,” Larimer said.
She suggests having a trusted friend or neighbor grab those packages in case the homeowner isn’t going to be back for awhile, that way it doesn’t look like the house is empty.
Finally, after the holidays die down and everyone has opened their gifts, Larimer recommends throwing away empty boxes in a safe way so as not to attract the attention of a burglar.
“If you have large packages of things, or any electronic device we oftentimes don’t think about it and we set that out with the trash,” she said. “I would encourage you not to do that. Break down those boxes put that in black trash bags and make sure burglars don’t know what’s in your home to come and get their hands on.”
For those of you still out shopping – CPD warns against leaving new purchases in plain view in your car while you’re still in the mall. It could give an opportunity for car thieves to break in.