SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - It was a busy weekend for Sullivan County deputies. Officers said they responded to a spike in burglaries during the past two days.
A trip to take out the trash ended in a crime. Regina Newman just bought a brand new pistol a few days ago, and when she made the short walk to the dumpster that pistol was gone.
She said it was stolen from her house on Sunday. "I just couldn't believe from that amount of time, say two minutes [or] three at the most, someone had been in my house," Newman told News 5.
We learned Newman was just one of many burglary victims in a weekend's time. "This time of year, we expect to start seeing more home break-ins. We did have several more than normal this weekend," said the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office public information officer Leslie Earhart.
We counted five reports of burglaries; one from a local business and the rest from homes.
Officials believe this spike in crime may have something to with the holidays being right around the corner. "Thieves know that this time of year, homeowners are going to have more valuables inside their homes in the form of Christmas presents," Earhart said.
We crunched the numbers and found out last year about 17 percent of all burglaries in Sullivan County happened in November and December, so keeping your home safe now is key.
Officers told us one of the best things you can do to protect your home is to visibly show thieves you've got a security system, whether you actually have one or not. "Lock your windows and doors. A lot of times we forget to check our windows, but if you do have a window on a ground level, in some cases thieves will check to see if they can get through a window," said Earhart.
If you do witness a crime officers advise you do not approach the suspect, but do take notes on their description and direction.
It's what Newman did and now she's hoping she'll keep thieves away in the future. "I'll make sure from now on that the doors are kept locked," she said.
Officers also told us you should do your best to keep all your valuables out of plain sight this time of year, including all Christmas presents.