The winter holidays are an active time for thieves, who prey on houses that might stand empty for days. If you plan to spend some time away from home, your house should appear as if you could return at any minute. Here are tips to deter intruders.
Burglar-proof your home. Lock gates to the backyard with a padlock; install motion-sensitive lights on the porch or in the backyard; and keep plants trimmed away from windows and doors so thieves don't have a place to hide.
Put your interior lights on timers so they go on at an appropriate time in the morning, off during the day, and on again in the evening, to make it look like you're coming and going at your normal times.
Park a car in the driveway to give the impression you're home. Give a neighbor a key and ask him to move the car every now and then.
Have neighbors pick up your newspapers and mail, or stop delivery for the duration of your trip.