With Christmas getting closer, many people take off to visit family or even head south for the winter. But leaving your home unattended for long periods of time over the holidays can make you a target for crime. Holiday absences and the presence of an abnormal number of valuables and gifts make homes more attractive to thieves during the holidays.

Making a home look occupied is the best way to prevent a break-in. This means keeping the sidewalks and driveways shoveled and plowed, and having mail and newspapers pickup up by neighbors.

Here are some other tips for keeping your home safe during the holiday season.

  • Get a timer for indoor and outdoor lights and your television
  • Turn a radio on when away from home.
  • Don’t store gifts in garage or in other exterior structures on property.
  • Have someone walk around your home and leave tracks in the snow.
  • Break down boxes from holiday gifts and put in trash receptacle or recycle bin rather than setting them out by the road.
  • Make sure all shrubbery near doors and windows are maintained and cut to prevent someone from hiding and add motion activated exterior lights.
  • Avoid displaying gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.
  • Arrange to have packages delivered to a neighbor if you’re not home to receive them.
  • Be sure not to obscure the view from your windows. You need a clear view of your property.
  •  Never cancel general deliveries such as mail, newspapers, and other services when leaving town or going on vacation.
  • Notify your local police precinct when you’re planning an extended absence. They can issue a vacation watch or directed patrol for your home.