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Empty boxes after Christmas put homes at risk of potential theft

Updated: Dec. 26, 2019 at 6:38 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It’s the day after Christmas, which means those beautifully wrapped presents under the tree are now opened boxes awaiting the trash.

However, clearing those boxes out of the house and leaving them at the end of your driveway might give burglars the idea to stop by.

WIS went along for a patrol of the neighborhoods with the Sumter Police Department on Thursday, learning about what puts houses at risk and what you can do to protect yourself.

“Looks like a TV box, so we know they got a flat screen for Christmas,” Sgt. Rodney McFadden said. “Most of the time people are unaware of it, so we just want to educate them.”

He said the Amazon boxes, toy boxes and TV boxes that were sitting out on porches and at the end of driveways gives potential thieves a clue as to what’s inside.

“Sometimes it leaves a lot of personal information -- receipts, addresses, telephone numbers," McFadden said. "It gives the bad guys a lot of information and makes their jobs a lot easier.”

However, McFadden said there are a few simple things you can do to protect your home.

“Break the boxes down, tear them up, conceal them in a garbage can," he said. “Don’t leave them on the side of the road.”

He said it’s also important to lock your car or home before you leave it, and keep valuables out of sight.

“Make it harder for thieves to come back later for packages or personal information or anything of that sort,” McFadden said.

The officers said you can also protect yourself by not posting on social media about your new gifts. They said it could be an advertisement to potential thieves about what was under the tree this year.

Another way you can protect your home and get rid of those boxes is by taking them to your local recycling center.

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