WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Police are warning residents about overflowing trash bins with boxes from new gifts they received this holiday season. It can make people vulnerable to thieves who can see what items are now in people’s homes.
Lt. Steve Burke of West Valley City Police Department said thieves will often drive around this time to case homes with valuables inside.
“They gather intelligence just like we do,” said Lt. Burke. “They drive around and look at people’s garbage cans.”
Christmas landed on a weekday this year so some cities are behind on their pickup schedule. Which leaves bins sitting on the streets even longer.
Investigators note that criminals won’t always strike around the holidays, but will wait until people are back in a normal routine.
“A lot of people take that time off,” said Lt. Burke. “So now might not be the biggest time for burglaries, but after the first of the year you might get more and more burglaries as people go back to work.”
As police drove our crew around West Valley City neighborhoods it was easy to see boxes of expensive items such as speakers, cameras, and televisions.
We knocked on the door of one home which had Styrofoam and cardboard which indicated a new T.V. Maddi Hammer opened the door and was surprised we knew about it. While the new T.V. belonged to a roommate she realized how it could attract attention.
“Once you said it, it made sense,” said Hammer “but that didn’t really register to me once we put it out.”
She later broke down the box so the lid could close.
Lt. Burke suggest people be diligent about locking doors and windows. One of the best ways he suggest to deter crime is for people to get to know their neighbors.
“All they have to do is keep an eye out for one another and call the police when they see suspicious things happening in the neighborhood,” said Lt. Burke.
Authorities suggest not putting bins out until the morning of a scheduled pickup. They note that once it’s on the curb it’s considered public property and anyone can go through it.