A woman says someone stole several Christmas decorations from her home. Dec. 11, 2013.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Greensboro woman says someone stole Christmas decorations from her front yard.
Alisha Little said it happened sometime over the weekend at her home on Dewitt Street.
Little says she knows Christmas isn't about presents or decorations, but the stolen items weren't just "things" in a yard. They were passed down from her mother who passed away from breast cancer.
"Well, the Grinch stole Christmas," she said, exasperated. "It hurt me so bad because it was just something that my mother really loved."
But 14 days before Christmas, Little says she has lost a little of her Christmas spirit.
"It was like they took something from me that was in me from my momma," she explained.
Little is trying to get rid of the lone decorated tree left sitting in her yard.
She says she's tired of looking at it because it only reminds her of her lost mementos.
"I don't feel right about the tree being out there without the rest of the stuff," she said.
The Greensboro woman says she woke up Sunday morning and noticed thieves took her four-foot tall Santa Claus, a four-foot tall snowman, two little fences she had around the decorations and two three-foot tall angels.
"It hurt me when my niece and them came and she said, 'well, auntie, we're not going to have Christmas. They took all the stuff.' And I turned to her and said, 'no, baby, we're going to have Christmas regardless.'"
Police across the Triad say each year there are a few incidents like this; either teenagers pulling pranks, or vandals out for the thrill.
"It's sad. But, you know, crime happens every day. It doesn't take a break because it's Christmas or any kind of holiday. So, we just have to be careful all the time," said Officer E.Y. Watkins of the Greensboro Police Department.
Watkins says there's no foolproof way of keeping your outside decorations safe, but the where and how can make a difference.
Greenboro police detailed the following tips in a news release Wednesday afternoon:
Make your decorations difficult to remove. Criminals want to do their dirty work quickly so they have less chance of being discovered. Stake or tie down your ornaments and their cords. Use outdoor extension cords with locking plugs so connected decorations cannot be removed easily. Or, wrap cords around poles, posts, trees, or other strong structures so they are harder to remove. You could also use landscaping stakes to secure the cords to the ground. Use twist or zip ties to secure lights strung on trees and bushes.
Place your decorations out of reach. A flat section of your roof is a great place to display your ornaments. They're out of reach and everyone can see them. If getting to your roof is too much effort, put your inflatables and figurines close to your house near windows where you can keep an eye on them.
Bring the good stuff indoors. If possible, bring your holiday decorations inside when they aren't in use or you won't be home. While this isn't always practical, you may be able to quickly disconnect or move some items and lock them in your garage or storage shed. Decorations that are family heirlooms or have sentimental value are worth the effort.
Consider motion sensors and cameras. Motion-activated lights are a good way to reduce the chances of theft any time of the year. You may be able to connect your displays directly to motion sensors or timers so displays or lights will randomly go on and off. This way, you won't set a pattern that criminals can take advantage of. Surveillance cameras can be both good deterrents and helpful in identifying thieves. Choose a camera that operates effectively in low light or at night. Place it to oversee the most expensive and most tempting decorations. Review the footage regularly for suspicious activity.
Mobilize your Neighborhood Watch. The holidays are a good time to revitalize your Neighborhood Watch. Work together to watch over everyone's decorations and keep the entire neighborhood safe. You - or some of your neighbors- may be travelling this time of year. Make arrangements to look after each other's homes in your absence.
Prepare for the police. Even if you have taken several precautions to protect your outdoor holiday displays, you may still have problems. Take photos of your finished display and record any serial numbers for expensive pieces so you can report theft or damage to the police if necessary.