'Most of our criminals are opportunistic. You know they're going to act on it if they can'

      SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - You worked hard all year to buy your loved one just the right gift, but for common criminals, the busy season has really just begun.

      "I think we see a little spike in burglaries during that time," Sgt. Pete Kirkpatrick with the Springfield Police Department said of the post-holiday period. "People think that you're not home."

      So you've locked your doors, cleared your cars, maybe even left music playing to keep crooks away.

      But the savvy scofflaw is still on easy street thanks to your trash and recycling bins.

      "Especially with bigger TVs now, it's a lot of cardboard," Kirkpatrick said.

      Even if you don't have a place to store those big boxes, leaving them in front of your home or even on your patio is a bad idea. To a criminal's eyes, you're an easy target.

      "Most of our criminals are opportunistic," Kirkpatrick said, "and whether it's a TV box or a box in your car or a box outside the house, you know they're going to act on it if they can."