RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Investigators call these cases "Crimes of Opportunity," and new information shows the holiday season has emerged as an opportune time for burglaries and car break-ins.
According to new data from CrimeMapping.com, Raleigh Police filed at least 222 home burglaries and 311 car break-ins since Thanksgiving. That means in the 33 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, a thief is breaking into a home or car an average of 16 times per day in the City of Raleigh.
One of the latest victims is Carin Savel, who told ABC11 a burglar smashed her bedroom window and ran off with nearly $50,000 in personal property, including electronics, jewelry and family heirlooms.
"You can't replace those memories - that's not coming back," Savel lamented to ABC11. "I can replace some of the jewelry, I can buy it again. I can't buy the reason behind it - the jewelry that were gifts, a necklace, a ring, something."
Apart from the trauma of being burglarized, Savel said she's also fighting an uphill battle with Raleigh Police for what she worries is a lack of urgency.
"Nobody got hurt - that's great, and I'm very grateful for that, but you're a victim and you want someone to pay attention to you," Savel told ABC11. "You want the police to say this was awful, we're going to do everything they can to help you out here."
She's also dealing with the red tape of insurance claims, which are asking for pictures, receipts and any other proof of ownership.
"Who takes pictures of luggage?" Savel said, referring to designer bags that were among the items reported stolen. "You don't think about these things until it's too late, so I would tell people to start taking pictures."
As for police and its response, a spokeswoman for RPD told ABC11 "The Raleigh Police Department views all cases as important and works diligently to solve them."
In addition to locking all doors and windows, police recommend the following to deter criminals and ensure the safety of your family and property:
- Fortifying doors and windows with longer screws, stronger hinges and reinforced siding. This will make it tougher to kick down a door or window.
- Change up the timers on lights so nothing in the house looks automatic. Police warn that criminals will do their own patrol and notice if things look rehearsed, giving the implication that no one is home.
- Limit personal posts on social media and strengthen privacy rules. People may think only friends see vacation plans, but if not careful there are friends of friends who may take advantage of the knowledge you're not home.
- Before leaving for vacation, hold mail and newspaper delivery; stacked mailboxes and piles of newspapers are easy giveaways that no one is home for an extended period of time. This also applies to trash collection - ask a neighbor to roll back your trash or recycling bin so it's not out for a long period of time.
- Get to know your neighbors and build a sense of communal responsibility. Security starts at home, but it extends to those around your family: communicate with those around you so they know when to expect guests, house work and other visitors, so that if something doesn't seem right, a neighbor can take the initiative to call police.