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Police give tips on how to discourage holiday thieves

Police give tips on how to discourage holiday thieves. // WSBT 22

While you finish wrapping your last gift and start to pack the car for the long weekend, police are asking you to lock up or look out.

Officials say crimes of opportunity increase around the holidays.

One of the greatest deterrents of break-ins is as simple as staying off social media. Police say using social media is a good way to have your home targeted because people know you're out of town.

They have some more tips for you to make sure your Christmas remains jolly.

It's a beautiful scene this time of year as homes are decked out in Christmas spirit, but before you leave home for the holidays, police want you to take your time.

“Criminals are getting very crafty in the way they're looking at things and how they're targeting people,” said Sergeant Chris Snyder, Elkhart Police Department.

Elkhart police say with a slight increase in break-in's around this time of year, you can't be too safe.

“A lot of local law enforcement agencies, I know we do here at the police department, call us and let us know, ‘hey we're going to be out of time from this time to this time.’ We can drive by and do some extra checks of the house,” said Snyder.

Calling police to check on your home is a good move, but being careless with your trash isn't. Police say criminals are looking through your garbage to see what presents you got for Christmas.

Home invasions are something Chadwick Langland knows too well.

“Someone broke into my house, stole all the baby things, other things out of the house that meant something to me,” said Langland.

This year, Langland is staying home for the holidays, but some of his neighbors aren't. He says he'll make sure their house is secure.

“We are watching a couple neighbor's houses. Our kids know their kids and we have a very intimate relationship with our neighbors so we'll be watching their homes while they're away," said Langland.

Langland also plans to pick up his neighbors' mail and clear the snow from their sidewalks and driveways, making it looks like the homes aren't empty.

If you have a neighbor like Langland, police say you should be set to travel.

“Talk to your neighbors, let them know that we're going to be gone for a couple of days so they can keep an eye on things. If they see footprints in the snow or a broken window or see someone walking in the house, that's the great thing about neighbors is everyone can look out for each other," said Snyder.

If you do have a neighbor watching your house, make sure they have your number or know how to reach you in an emergency.

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