Avoiding Holiday Crime - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Avoiding Holiday Crime

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A warning on this Christmas Eve from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Last December, there were more than 280 burglaries reported in the county. Just a few weeks ago, there were more than 30 break-ins in one area of Augusta.

Investigators have made a couple arrests, but they are still warning people about burglaries during the holidays.

The holidays are here and because of that, a lot of you will have new, expensive gifts in your homes. Lt. Lewis Blanchard, with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, says criminals will be on the lookout... but deputies will be as well.

"We've put undercover officers out through the holiday season. We also have crime suppression working in full force, as well as the burglary task force. So we do have a lot of extra patrols out there."

But the Sheriff's Office can only do so much, so if you want to enjoy those new gifts for a long time, you need to make sure all of your doors and windows are locked, keep your valuable possessions out of sight, and don't let your trash give away too much information.

"Let's say you got that big 60-inch flat screen TV for Christmas, that's great, but break down the card board, put it in a trash bag, and then put it in the trash. Don't leave anything outside in front of your house so it looks like you got those items. Because you are inviting criminals. You want to be the least-likely target. You're inviting those people to come in."

And if you're going on vacation, you can let the Sheriff's Office know, and they will check on your house while you are gone, but there is more you can do to protect your home.

"Get to know your neighbors. Speak with them, let them know what's going on. Don't let the newspapers stack up. Don't let the mail pile up."

You also want to make sure your house is well-lit, and if you have an alarm, make sure it's activated.

"If you see somebody suspicious in the neighborhood, let us know. You know, if it turns out to be nothing. That's okay. We'd rather come and be proactive instead of coming out and finding that your house has been burglarized  later."

You also want to be careful with social media this time of the year. Posting information about your vacation or that new flat screen TV can give criminals the information they need to steal from you.

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