Christmas crime prevention tips to help your family during the holidays

By Ava

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- Adding surveillance cameras is a choice Susan English and her family decided to make after recent break-in's in her West Ashley neighborhood.

"This has happened several times in our neighborhood. We've had laptops stolen from our cars and everything, but not only my house but other people in the neighborhood," says English.

English says crime is a year round problem, but added protection during the Holiday season can't hurt.

"Especially during the holidays, because the kids would be a little disappointed if someone did steal," says English.

Sergeant Trevor Shelor is a crime prevention officer with the Charleston police department. He says using surveillance isn't the most common way to protect your house during the holidays.

"If they feel like they are in a situation that they've got some neighbors they are worried about or some kind of a neighborhood crime problem, we're not going to tell them that they shouldn't," says Shelor.

Shelor says always check locks on your doors and windows.

"Anytime you are leaving for any length of time, go ahead and make sure you are locking everything up. Including the back bathroom window and the back door to the garage and those kinds of things and make it look like you are still home," says Shelor.

Shelor says thieves are looking for people who are distracted, and staying alert is a crime deterrent.

"They are taken for granted that everyone is in a happy mood and they forget that there are thieves out there that are preying on the season. They are preying on you leaving stuff in the car, preying on you being distracted - being on your phone and letting your purse get taken away," says Shelor.

Shelor also suggests not leaving visible gifts or other items in the car, if at all possible.