Authorities give tips to prevent theft

Published 8:27 pm Thursday, December 18, 2008

Many people across the country look forward to the Christmas holidays, but that can also be the case for many burglars.

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said he normally sees a spike in burglaries around the holidays because people may not be at home as much and because residents usually have more valuables that can be stolen.

“People usually have more money and other expensive items in their homes during Christmas,” Stilwell said. “It can be a prime target for burglars.”

One of the best ways to keep the possibility of a burglary down might be having a good neighbor check on your property.

“Have your neighbors watch out for you when you’re away,” Stilwell said. “If they see anything suspicious, then they can call the police to come by and check it out.”

Other precautions Stilwell recommends include putting timers on lights inside your house to come on at certain times of the night. Also, make sure shrubbery and trees are trimmed back so that burglars cannot hide behind shrubs when police come by to check on the houses. Keeping your yard trimmed also allows officers to see whether a window is broken or a door has been forced open.

Insurance companies also recommend homeowners make sure all locked doors and windows have a tight fit when closed, which won’t allow any wiggle room for burglars to jimmy the doors or windows open. Also, homeowners should position blinds and curtains so that burglars cannot see what is inside the home.

When people are away from home, things such as mail and newspapers could pile up.

“You might want to have your neighbor collect your mail and newspapers, or you can stop delivery on your mail and newspapers so they don’t pile up,” Stilwell said.

All valuables and guns should be locked in a safe. In the case that they could get stolen, Stilwell recommends people keep a good description and serial numbers of any items so they could trace them down.

After Christmas, law enforcement officials also advise that you not take out your trash until the morning that trash will be picked up. The extra boxes could lead burglars to know what could be inside your home.

– Brent Maze can be reached at