Holiday Trash is Treasure for Thieves

Now that Christmas is over, watch out because your holiday trash could make you a target for thieves.

We're not talking about your regular little opportunist thieves," crime prevention expert, Catherine Smit-Torrez said, " We're talking about your seasoned  thieves that know what they're doing."

For thieves, they just want to turn anything you have into money.

She said, "They're cruising up and down the street and they look at any boxes that are left beside your trash."

If they see something they believe they can make a profit off it, your home has just become a target.

"That's the house that they're going to target, to keep an eye on when people leave so they can go in a steal," Smit-Torrez said.

Residents with their trash bin in the alley ways have an even greater risk of becoming a victim.

"They have more time to lift that lid open and see what's in there," she said.

Plus, it's a lot easier for them to hide and go unnoticed. 

Don't be surprised if the box, or boxes are missing, because thieves will take them.

She said, "They keep the box so they can go back in and get the item that goes with the box."

Now the thieves have a more valuable product and it's much easier for them to sell it online, at a pawn shop, or just to someone on the street.

One thing you can do to protect yourself is waiting to put your trash outside.

"They don't need to put their trash out anymore in advance than they have to," she said.

Another great tip, is to take a razor knife and cut up the box into tiny pieces.  Thieves won't take the time to put the pieces together to figure out what you have.  If you want to make it tougher, put the pieces in another bag.

"The greatest thing people can do is put cameras outside," Smit-Torrez said.

She said this deters them from your home.

Something else you should be careful of, is your Facebook posts.  Thieves will look at the pictures to see what you got for Christmas.

"On Facebook, you need to know who your friends are because not just your friends see stuff, sometimes it's friends of friends who might see something," she said, "It depends on your settings."

Sometimes thieves can figure out where you live from the picture, or from your profile information.

, Newschannel 6