12/17/2013 06:26 EST | Updated 02/16/2014 05:59 EST

Holiday parcels draw thieves to homes and vehicles, police say

The busy pace of the holiday season creates opportunities for thieves who will eagerly snatch holiday parcels left unattended in vehicles or inside homes with unlocked doors, Toronto police say.

Const. Usman Haroon told CBC News that in 14 Division alone, police have seen four times the number of vehicle break-ins in December when compared to an average month.

When people leave gifts in plain sight, Haroon said thieves have an opportunity to take a gander and potentially take what they see.

"The number one thing is hide your valuables," Haroon said. "Leave them in the trunk, rather than the backseat."

Haroon said police also see an increase in residential break-ins at this time of year.

Similar to his advice for vehicle owners, Haroon said that homeowners should keep their doors locked. According to the constable, an unlocked front door is the most common reason for a break-in.

But thefts can happen on porches as well.

Jackie Dale told CBC News that she saw someone try to take off with a parcel that had been delivered to her neighbour’s front door.

"I caught him red-handed and he and I had a bit of a box-struggle, but he was on a moped," Dale said.

"So he drove away and I said: 'You should be ashamed of yourself.'"

Dale said it was reminder that "this is the time of year that people will be trolling the streets looking for those deliveries."

Click on the video above to see a full report from the CBC's Michelle Cheung.