CINCINNATI -- With the holidays fast approaching, police are warning us to keep an eye out for Grinches hoping to steal that festive cheer.
Police say most burglaries are for property -- things like electronics, purses, wallets and package deliveries left unattended on porches.
Criminals often look for dark homes because they may think nobody is there. Cincinnati police say it's extremely rare for criminals to break into houses when people are home -- they have fewer than 10 reports every year.
They provided these simple tips to protect yourself:
- Make it look like you're home! A porch light or garage light is all it takes.
- Let neighbors on both sides and behind you know when you're going to be out of town -- they're your best protection.
- Don't leave gifts in plain sight: Criminals will kick in your door if they see easy access to something.
- Place flood lights with motion sensors on all sides of your house.
- Alarm systems are as low as $19 to $40 per month. If you can't afford that, don't use fake alarm system decals. Police say you're not going to fool criminals with anything fake.
"Fake security cameras are a no-no in our business," said Sgt. Eric Franz. "First off, most fake security cameras look fake. Real criminals know they're fake, but it gives a perceived level of protection that really isn't there. There's also some civil liability, too. People of been sued because they have fake cameras. It's not worth it; it's a waste of money."
- Real cameras can come as cheaply as four for $100.
- Leaving a television on inside is another way to make it look like you're home.
- Shovel your driveway and sidewalk in the winter. That's a sign that you're home.