Waikato Police are warning the public that unless they start following basic security precautions their Christmas presents will head out the door quicker than Santa can bring them in via the chimney.
Hamilton City Tactical Coordinator, Senior Sergeant Freda Grace, said all joking aside, the failure to take even basic security steps made the job of Police following up burglary complaints frustrating.
"Over the past two weeks our Scene of Crime officers, the people who come to your home to take fingerprints and gather other forensic evidence, have expressed concern that too many houses had been left unsecured prior to being burgled.
"People have been going out or going to bed and leaving doors and windows not only unlocked, but sometimes open and unfortunately this is like a candle to moths for opportunist burglars."
Ms Grace said when offenders had to force entry into a property it took time for them to get into a home increasing the risk that they will be interrupted or leave forensic evidence detectable by Police.
"Aside from fingerprints they may tear clothing or cut themselves meaning they leave an easily identifiable spoor for our officers to track but if they can just walk in and then walk out with your valuables, it makes it very very hard for us to identify who was responsible."
"An example of this was early on Sunday morning when a man who had left his sliding front door of his Fairview Downs home unlocked, was woken by people inside his lounge."
"The man confronted two Maori males who he chased out of his home and, assisted by neighbours who heard the disturbance, pursued the offenders to Fairview St where they managed to escape in the dark."
Ms Grace said the victim had left the front door unlocked so his partner, who was out, could get back in when she got home.
"Instead the offenders made off with a hamper and other assorted Christmas presents which will now have to be replaced, while a person has every right to expect to be safe in their home, unfortunately burglars don't subscribe to the same levels of decency and prey on the rest of the community.
"Had the victims invested $5 dollars on a spare key and locked the door- they could have prevented themselves from being victims in the first place."
And it's not just in the City where thieves are targeting the Christmas presents with gifts reported stolen from a holiday home in Waihi Beach on Saturday.
"In this case the bach was locked. The thieves forced entry via a window and made off with a television and two Christmas presents including a child's remote controlled helicopter.
"While the theft of children's presents is viewed by Police as a particularly callous crime, only two weeks ago we did warn people of the risks of leaving gifts in plain view which does attract burglars."
Ms Grace said it was a sad reflection on society that it was better to err on the side of caution when it came to celebrating Christmas and not only should people not have their gifts in plain view in their homes or their cars people should also be cautions about how they dispose of wrapping paper and boxes.
"Criminals can be quite cunning and often people advertise what valuable items they received for Christmas simply by leaving the packaging out on the road for rubbish collection.
"Then the burglars can get an itemised list of what goodies are available when you go out. We're asking people to consider taking their boxes and wrappers to the cardboard recyclers or the dump to reduce the risk."
Not needing to worry about going to work or getting children off to school, criminals have plenty of time to work out ways to separate you and your loved ones from their hard earned valuables.
"That's why communities need to think smarter and work together to deter burglars, get to know your neighbours, tell them if you're going away and keep an eye out for each others homes.
"And above all, if you see something do something and that something is to ring 111."