MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — The Mountain Brook Police Department is encouraging families to be careful when putting empty electronics or expensive item boxes at the curb after Christmas as your home could potentially be a target for thieves.

“As far as the box you want to be discrete on how you are disposing of it making sure you have it in your trash car in a lid. If you have a big tv box, make sure you’re not leaving it out on the sidewalk for criminals to see,” said George French, public information officer with the Mountain Brook Police Department.

French is encouraging people to be cautious of what they are posting online.

“You also don’t want to post on social media to let them know exactly where to come to find those items just like your friends are on social media so are criminals using that to figure out where they want to break in,” he said.

However, for those who have decided to return Christmas gifts, the United States Postal Service has some recommendations to help prevent a package from getting lost in the mail.

“That we have the to and from the label on the package, it must have that on there. If one of the labels comes off, we can get that package back to the shipper or the sender,” said John Richardson with the Birmingham USPS.

Richardson is asking that the community have patience this week as they are doing their best to keep up with the demand.

“As long as it has that partial return label on it, you can put it in one of our collection boxes or just bring it into our retail counter line and hand it to an associate you don’t even need to wait in line, but as long as it has the right return label on it and it’s sealed,” he said.

The MBPD says they are stepping up patrol throughout the city and neighborhoods keeping an eye on homes and packages.