Crooks' opportunities abound at Christmas - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crooks' opportunities abound at Christmas

Santa Claus isn't the only person with a sack of loot this holiday season. Burglars have hit nearly 200 homes in Memphis over the last four days alone. Expensive gifts are some of the top items on their lists.

"Just a sign of the times," says Memphian Rob Eppes. "A lot's happening unfortunately."

"It's really sad because most people are trying to get into the spirit and having people take advantage of other people is just kind of sickening," says neighbor Sarah Gish.

But we looked around one neighborhood and found exactly what police say you should not do. One family left home, left their christmas tree lighted and surrounded by presents to boot.

"That's a direct signal that there are goodies inside," says Lt. Tyrone Currie with Memphis police.

Lt. Currie says most burglaries can be easily prevented.

"Because burglaries, in most cases, are crimes of opportunity," says Currie.

He says Christmastime crooks know you've been shopping. They assume you have gifts. Giving them a peek inside your home is your first mistake.

"And the most disappointing thing is to see people who are trying to celebrate Christmas get preyed upon," says Currie.

He says three or four burglars can hit hundreds of homes. Simply knowing these lawbreakers are lurking may be the best reality check.

"Yeah, definitely," says Sarah Gish. "We'll be a lot more cautious now."

Here are some tips to protect your home, which apply any time of the year: First, keep your curtains closed while you're away. Leave a light on. Leave on a radio or television. Finally, make sure doors and windows are locked and have neighbors check on your house

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