Updated 12/21/2012 06:13 PM
Police: Think like a criminal to protect your home
It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and the last thing you want on your holiday is to become the victim of a crime. Tamara Lindstrom has some expert advice on how to protect your home, and keep any unwanted visitors away.
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ITHACA, N.Y. -- It happens every year, as regular as Christmas lights and holiday music.
"With the economic crunch that we're all going through, folks being short on cash for maybe Christmas presents, we do see an increase in burglaries and larcenies. Folks that are just looking to make ends meet," said Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson.
But there are ways to help ensure your holiday is a safe one.
"Anything that you can do to make your house less of a target is going to significantly decrease the chance of your house being burglarized," Williamson said.
When it comes to protecting your home from would-be burglars, officers say the best way to prepare is to think like a criminal.
"Walk around your house as if you're a criminal, casing your house," Williamson said.
Look for things someone trying to break in might want to see...or might want to steal.
"Don't leave your items out in plain sight," Williamson said. "Anything of value, make sure that it's either locked up or that its hidden in the residence."
If you're going out of town, try to make it look like someone's home. Have a neighbor pick up the mail, and don't forget about the weather.
"Make sure that your driveways and walkways are being plowed or shoveled. Make sure that you have motion lights installed, make sure that your doors and windows are locked each night. And a home alarm system is a wonderful deterrent," Williamson said.
And if you see anything suspicious, don't hesitate to call the police. Williamson says they're happy to help keep your home and your loved ones safe.
The Ithaca Police Department will also have extra officers patrolling the neighborhoods during the holidays.