Tips for Avoiding Holiday Thievery

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season is winding down, but authorities are urging the public not to become complacent about crime prevention.

They say thieves can fulfill their own wish lists by watching vehicles and monitoring trash left by the curb.

"It's an advertisement to let people know you have a new television or a new computer in your home. And for anybody that's looking for a prime target, that would be a target," said Debbie Tanna, a spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. "Break your boxes down. Don't leave your boxes out on the curb."

Authorities urge people to lock their doors and use alarm systems to help reduce the risk of break-ins. They also should keep close tabs on debit and credit card transactions to prevent fraud and record the serial numbers of products they've bought.

Fayetteville police have engravers the public can use to etch their driver's license numbers onto valuables, Lindo said.

The department on Wednesday also rolled out a new tool called DataDots -- tiny dots that can be glued on valuables. The dots in each kit contain the same microscopic serial number, so residents can paint all their valuables with the same number, which DataDots keeps on file in the event the property is stolen.

"We just want folks to be mindful of the fact that other people out there may actually be looking for an opportunity," Lindo said. "We don't want them to present themselves as an opportunity."

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