<p>Mary Alice Reporting:

(Friday, December 20th) New Philadelphia, Ohio – The New Philadelphia Police Department is offering simple tips to protect valuables at the store and in the home this holiday.

Residential burglaries increase leading up to long holiday weekends with 64% of homeowners and renters not locking up before leaving the house, according to a AAA home security survey.

New Philadelphia Police Chief Mike Goodwin explains for those last minute shoppers, to lock the vehicle while in the store and to place items under a covering.

“When you go shopping, especially for women, please pay attention to the purse in your shopping cart. Too many times the purse sits there and it’s kind of wide open. It’s very easy to be distracted and [if you] turn around, somebody can come by and take it.”

Goodwin adds for those traveling, to make it look like someone is still at home by using automatic timers or getting a trusted friend to check on the house.

“Don’t leave [gifts] where you can necessarily leave them through a window or the front door and you’re not there. People can knock on your door and if there’s no answer, they may very well try to break in.”

Social media users are also reminded to be cautious of posting any high valued items online and any travel plans. Another idea for extended travel is to stop package and mail deliveries or have a pick-up plan in place.

According to the United States Department of Justice, homeowners lose an average of $2,316 in damages and possessions related to home burglaries.

Any suspicious activity in neighborhoods can be reported to a local police department.

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