Former police officer offers holiday safety tips to protect your property

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, unless you become the target of burglars and thieves. 

Police say property crimes tend to go up during the holiday season when people are out traveling and shopping.

A former police officer and crime prevention specialist, Dr. Tod Burke, says you can make sure your home is not the target of a crime this holiday season. Being mindful of how presents and packages are delivered is the first step. 

"And Oftentimes the delivery people will put them right there in front of the house," said Burke. 

Asking a neighbor to pick them up or having them delivered to your job can prevent thefts.  

"One of the things you can do with this package, instead of having them right by the front door, is make contact with the delivery people and perhaps ask them to put them somewhere where it's a little bit more hidden from public view," said Burke. 

Another sign attracting crooks is sitting right outside your home. 

"One of the things that is a telltale sign that you are not home is the trash. If you don't put your trash out, it tells people you either forgot or that you were not home. So what I suggest is take the trash can, roll it up the driveway, put it up ahead of time,"  said Burke. 

Over the past several weeks, 10 News has told you about car break-ins occurring in the New River and Roanoke valleys as well as in Lynchburg and Campbell County. You can decrease the odds this happens to you by not leaving bags and boxes in plain view. 

"Take the items from out of the back seat of the car and simply put them into the truck. There they are secure and make sure that the doors of the car and the trunk are locked,"  said Burke. 

Lastly, if you leave town, don't let allow mail to pile up in your mailbox.

"As the mail comes, you can have a neighbor come and take the mail right out of the mailbox, and therefore it doesn't pile up in there and let people know you're not home," said Burke. 

Several police agencies, including Martinsville, can do home checks at your request.