After-Christmas Trash Could Make Your Home A Target For Criminals

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By Catalina Trivino

As people are out doing their shopping, thieves in our area may be on the prowl for their own after-Christmas shopping. Montgomery County deputies say if you're not careful about how you toss your Christmas trash -- you could be a target for criminals trying to break into your home.

Now that Santa is out of the neighborhood, Scrooges and Grinches could be creeping through your neighborhood. Deputies say not only will boxes tell thieves what's inside of your home, but it may also give away personal information.

After Christmas is when authorities see a spike in crime and you may be making it easier on criminals.

That's because thieves aren't just scoping out your house. They're also looking at your trash.

"All they got to do is drive down the road... and as you can see, when we were driving and the number of boxes that were piled into the garbage can and the lid couldn't close, but you could see all the contents inside," Said Montgomery County Chief Deputy, Derrick Cunningham.

Our Alabama News Network crew went out into neighborhoods -- and in minutes, found dozens of big-ticket items. Empty boxes sitting on the curb like televisions and furniture... all tipping off criminals with the new hot toys Santa brought neighbors this year.

Montgomery resident, Jessie Davis, says putting your Christmas trash on your yard is like free advertising...

"They'll know exactly what's in your household and you'll go sometime and if you come back and your stuff is gone, that's why. That's the invitation right there," Said Davis.

And some shipping boxes may also include your name, phone number and credit card information.

"You want a person to be able to drive by your house and not know what you have in your house or what belongs in your house," Said Cunningham.

And there are ways to protect yourself...

  • Don't leave empty boxes on the curb.
  • Cut up boxes and stash them in garbage, out of sight.
  • Record serial numbers, labels or other indentifying factors.
  • Take boxes to local recycling center, so they're not on your lawn.
  • Keep an eye on your neighborhood.

Chief Cunningham says even putting out bulky items like an old T.V. or old furniture on the curb is still a bad a idea. He says it's a sign that something new could be in your home.

Cunningham says the most sought-after items are electronics, especially televisions and computers.