By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — Christmas-related crimes are threatening to dampen the holiday spirit for a number of local residents this week, as police report thieves have made off with everything from lawn ornaments to wrapped gifts.
Although police have received a number of reports of holiday decorations stolen from front lawns in the area over the past month, the thefts might have hit a high-water mark on Wednesday, when a fully decorated, 4-foot Christmas tree with a silver star on top was stolen from a front lawn on Pleasant Street.
According to the police log, the woman who reported the theft said the $50 tree setup was taken between 1 and 5 p.m. There were no witnesses to the crime.
On Ward Street, a woman told police yesterday afternoon that a 2-foot by 2-foot box delivered from Globe Santa — an organization which provides gifts to children in need throughout Greater Boston — had been emptied of its toys and left behind in the front hallway of her multi-unit building.
“When she picked up the box it was empty,” wrote police, noting that the gifts for the woman’s children had been taken out the bottom.
Lt. Marc Berube said the department typically sees an increase in the number of packages stolen from doorsteps, stoops and hallways during the holidays, and that people can protect themselves by requesting in-hand deliveries.
In Peabody, police received a report Wednesday that a Lowell Street woman’s apartment had been burglarized of a number of items, including a Coach pocketbook, a Panasonic camera — and wrapped presents.
Although Lt. Arthur Yeo said residential break-ins didn’t appear to be more numerous during the holiday season, there was a noticeable uptick in other crimes — like vehicle break-ins and shoplifting. But he said a lot of shoplifters were likely deterred by the larger police presence at the Northshore Mall during the holiday season.
“I think that probably cuts down on a lot of that,” he said.