WACO, Texas — As people leave town for the holidays or leave gifts in their cars, December can be a big opportunity for thieves and burglars.
Police encourage people to use extra caution this holiday season to make sure their belongings are safe.
Assistant chief of Baylor Police, Don Rodman, told 25 News that while overall crime typically decreases on and around campus over winter break, leaving a car or apartment unattended can pose a risk.
"For vehicles that are left unattended, the opportunity definitely increases, because there's less visibility that comes along with less people," Rodman said.
Baylor and Waco police offer several recommendations for people to keep their valuables safe this year.
"Hide, lock, take"
It may seem simple, but both departments encourage people to be cautious about what they choose to leave in their car.
They should hide, or better, remove any valuables from their vehicle before they leave it.
Even more important: locking your car.
Leave your car somewhere safe
Especially for students who are leaving their car for an extended period of time for the holidays, Rodman recommends moving it to a location that's visible, with good lighting and, even better, with cameras.
One option, Rodman said, is a campus parking garage.
Baylor police regularly patrol campus garages and cameras monitor activity inside.
Talk to a neighbor
Waco PD neighborhood engagement officers, Bryton Johnson, recommends alerting neighbors if you plan to leave your home for an extended period of time.
"Tell your neighbor that, 'Hey, I'm gonna be out of town for a week or two.' And if they see a suspicious vehicle or anything suspicious, they can call the police department," Johnson said.
Johnson also encourages people to be cautious about what boxes they put out on the street after the holidays.
"If you buy any gifts, or anything big, just try not to put it out to the front yard for a long period of time," he said. "Because that could be potential advertising to burglars that you have new items in your house."