Preventing Holiday Break Ins

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Tis the season: For giving, receiving and stealing. Knoxville Police say thefts are up significantly during the Holiday season, but don't worry.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel is here with some simple ways to deter thieves from your home.

It's really simple: When you're away from home, make it look like you're there. Experts say too many people lock down their homes to the point of desolation, and that's what attracts a thief in the first place.

Doors locked, lights bright, shades open, alarm on. All precautions to protect your home from predators this Christmas.

"The biggest mistake a lot of people make is they take away the homey look when they're out," said Mike Fleenor from Fleenor's Security Systems.

Mike Fleenor runs a home security business. He says a "homey-home" is less likely a target for thieves

"Keep the house up, leave lights on, leave shades open, even set lights and TV's on timer to look like it's got a lived-in feel to it, but don't lock it down and close he shades and make it dark," Fleenor said.

Safety Prevention Officers say he's exactly right.

"A house that has light will deter crime. A house that's dark that has no movement, that's going to be more of a target because criminals will be able to hide better," said Michele Goldsberry, a KPD Safety Prevention Officer.

KPD says the holidays always host a large number of break-ins. So remember: locks, lights, common sense -- that includes telling a trusted friend or neighbor that you won't be home.

"Have someone come over on a daily basis, pick up your mail and the newspaper, put it inside, check the house out, make sure all the lights are on and make sure the house is secure," Goldsberry said.

And experts recommend securing your house even when you are there.

"Used to, you never heard of anyone breaking in when they thought somebody was home, but they're getting pretty desperate, so especially set alarms at night," Fleenor said.

"Most crime is based on opportunity," Goldsberry said.

Remember, thieves see the gifts sitting underneath your tree as an opportunity to make their Christmas merry and yours miserable.

"Christmas, you would think would be the calmest time, peace on earth and everything, but it seems like it really brings out the real desperation in a lot of people," Fleenor said.

Police suggest writing down serial numbers from electronic gifts you buy this year and putting them in a safe place. If the gift is stolen, that number will help police locate the item easier.