"According to the FBI, December is the peak month for burglaries as folks leave homes unattended during the holidays. Nationally, burglaries peak during the summer vacations, though December is close behind.In many places, the week following Christmas has the heaviest burglary caseload. The post-Christmas burglary jump also holds true for small towns.
"Every year, we see a pretty big uptick in burglaries," said Ben Hayden, community relations officer for the Coralville (Iowa) Police Department.
A few factors seem most responsible. Many families take off, leaving homes empty -- except for all the gifts. And winter storms can make it obvious that nobody's home. "Criminals drive through neighborhoods looking for places to burglarize," said Hayden. "If there's newly fallen snow that hasn't been shoveled, they figure the home is empty."
He added that many townspeople put their beautifully decorated Christmas trees -- and all the gift packages stacked beneath them -- right at the front of the living room. "Burglars can walk around and window-shop," said Hayden.
The criminals are already aware that homes are filled with loot this time of year -- jewelry, televisions, smart phones and computers. Sometimes homeowners advertise what they got for Christmas by putting out for trash collection the empty boxes their gifts came in, according to Gary Holliday, deputy chief of the Knoxville, Tenn., police department.
"Criminals find out what you got for Christmas," he said."
Excerpts from CNN