Photo courtesy of Hingham Police
After break-ins in both Duxbury and Kingston, Hingham Police are reminding residents to be vigilant about storing gifts and locking up their homes this holiday season.
According to Hingham Police Sergeant Steven Dearth, there have been no break-ins in Hingham houses so far this holiday season. Last year, however, housebreaks were highest in November and December, with 14 burglaries in those two months.
“One reason homes may become more vulnerable during the holiday season are people are away visiting and traveling, away shopping or attending holiday-related events,” Dearth said. “Also, consider that during this time many people are bringing high-value gifts into their homes to give as gifts.”
According to Dearth, the most common items stolen include laptops, small electronic devices, flat screen TV’s, medication, change, cash, and jewelry.
Police said there are numerous ways to discourage burglars, including leaving a car outside the garage while away on vacation to make it appear as if someone is home.
Families should also avoid using social media to announce that they will be going away on vacation.
Furthermore, people away from home should consider using timers for lights, telling friends or trusted neighbors that they will be away, or filling out a “Closed House” form at the police station to alert patrolling officers that their house is vacant.
Leaving the paper or mail outside for long periods of time is also a dead giveaway that no one is home, and residents would most likely be better prepared to leave a key with a neighbor rather than hidden outside.
According to Dearth, planning ahead of have any gifts, packages, or drycleaning service being shipped to the home picked up is also paramount.
“Another sign that no one will be home all day is when the outside lights are on all day. Although you may have forgotten to turn them off, this tells a burglar that no one is expected back home all day until after dark,” Dearth said. “Also, if you have an alarm, use it every time you leave, no matter how quickly you expect to return.”
According to Dearth, no one can let their guard down even when a theft seems least likely. For example, a Cushing Street family left on Christmas Eve for a church service and returned home less than three hours later to find their house broken into.
Houses aren’t the only things locals should look after during the holiday season. Families should be diligent about securing their vehicles.
“In Hingham, there are more incidents of thefts from parked cars in residential driveways throughout the year than in any of the business lots. With this in mind, never hide or store gifts or valuables in your cars,” Dearth said.
Valuables shouldn’t be left in view, doors should always be locked, and after making purchases, it is safer to put the gifts in the trunk out of sight.
“Nothing is more obvious to a thief than bags of new gift with receipts making them easy to return for quick money,” Dearth said.
Customers should be extradiligent when parked at events that typically take an extended period of time, such as the movie theater, fitness center, commuter train and boat parking lots, and restaurants.