WICHITA Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are warning homeowners to be careful where they position their Christmas trees this holiday season.
For many Wichitans, the holidays are a time of celebration.
“Presents, happiness and family,” said 11-year-old Mireya Ortiz.
“It’s a really special time of the year for us, especially with a big family,” said Mireya’s mom Judith Ortiz.
With the holiday season often comes decorations, particularly Christmas trees. Wichita police told KSN that homeowners should keep their trees away from their front windows for safety reasons.
“What happens is during the holiday season those 55 inch televisions you see from the street are now being replaced with Christmas trees with lights and presents that are around them,” said Wichita Police Captain Lem Moore. “If you’re walking down the sidewalk, some people are just able to look in, and if someone has an ill intent to do some kind of crime, simply walking up into the yard and gazing in to see if there is a valuable or something that’s worth breaking into that home is a possibility.”
Moore said it’s important to note police are not asking homeowners to remove their trees.
“We’re not saying take down the Christmas trees, leave those Christmas trees up because they are beautiful. However, maybe remove those gifts from underneath of them until later on when they are supposed to be brought out for the kids or they are put out on Christmas Eve,” Moore said.
Wichita mom Judith Ortiz said she learned her lesson about tree placement several years ago.
“We just try to hide it because we used to put it up by the window or where we can see it from the outside, but we got broken into,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said thieves rummaged through her home two weeks before Christmas. She said they took a majority of her two young girls’ presents.
“We worked so hard to try to get our families what we need and for someone just to break in and take our stuff, it was sad,” she said.
Ortiz is hoping other homeowners will learn from her mistake and listen to the police department’s advice.
“Try to set it away from the windows,” she said.