Police warn about putting Christmas gift packaging in the trash

Police warn about putting Christmas gift packaging in the trash

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Local law enforcement warns of disposing boxes in garbage outside houses Local law enforcement warns of disposing boxes in garbage outside houses

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - By now your Christmas presents are probably wrapped and under the tree. But before you open those gifts on Christmas, you'll want to listen up.

The Knoxville Police Department is offering a word of warning: your holiday trash may make you a target to a burglary, and police say your home could be at risk for the next few weeks if you're not careful.

Taking out the garbage is one of David Comer's chores, but during the holidays he's more careful about what he puts curbside.

"Christmas is a time that we don't think about crime and criminals. Although, we are aware they are out there," he said.

The Knoxville Police Department is warning homeowners, like Comer, that it's a bad idea to stuff your garbage can with the empty boxes and bags your new electronics come in on Christmas. Because it's essentially advertising to burglars what you have inside your home.

"To be honest with you a lot of the home burglaries occur during the day when most people are at work" said Darrell DeBusk with the Knoxville Police Department.

So what's the best way to make sure your trash isn't targeted?

"What we would recommend is that you break down the boxes and take them yourself to a recycling center," added DeBusk.

But you'll also want to think twice about sharing online what it is that you're getting rid of.

"If you are placing an older TV and advertising someone to come to your house and take the old one away, they're going to realize that well you probably have a new one. And again that sets you up as a potential target," said DeBusk.

One more barrier is to put trash inside black bags instead of clear ones, which is exactly what Comer does. While he takes these precautions, Comer says there's peace of mind knowing his neighbors are watching.

"Especially at Christmas we all look out for each other around here," he said.

If you plan on doing any traveling the next few days police say it's a good idea to make your home look "lived in." That means having a few lights on, maybe your TV as well, also you could have a trusted neighbor check on your home.

As a reminder for those living in Knoxville and Knox County, if your trash is scheduled to be picked up on Wednesday, it will be one day late because of the holiday. Instead, they'll pick up the following day on Thursday.

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