VALHALLA, N.Y. – Even though it's the season of giving, the Mount Pleasant Police Department is preparing for the season of taking, as Sgt. Art Romaine said this time of year is notorious for an increase in home burglaries.
"It's right around the holiday season and, unfortunately, we do historically have an increase in burglaries around this time of year," Romaine said. "People need the money."
Romaine said that although the town has not experienced an increase in incidents, it is expected in the coming weeks. A number of factors make the weeks in December leading up to Christmas a prime time for home burglaries, Romaine said. The first being that it gets dark earlier. Romaine said the two-hour window between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. is when burglaries typically happen, because it is dark enough outside and most residents aren't home from work.
Another is the increase in supply.
"Burglars know that people do shopping during this time of year and have items in their homes that people want," Romaine said. "Things like packages left on your front steps is a dead giveaway for burglars to come on in."
Romaine said that with the recent storms, residents should be careful of who is in or around their homes.
"We've had instances in the past where burglars will go to a house and act like they're a utility worker there to fix something," Romaine said. "And while they're at the front door talking to the homeowner, someone else is around back robbing the place."
Romaine said that if residents are going to leave their homes unattended for an extended period of time, the best way to keep burglars away is to make it seem as if someone is home. Simple steps like keeping lights on outside or a radio on inside can prevent a home burglary.
"It's all about the simple things to secure your home," Romaine said. "People who commit home burglaries don't want any sort of interaction. They just want to be in and out."