Tis the season for celebrating with friends and family, sipping hot chocolate, and holiday gift giving. It’s also prime time for burglaries and break-ins. If we’ve learned anything from the Home Alone franchise it’s that these holiday burglars can be persistent and the best way to defend your home is with a strong offense. Whether you’re planning a long vacation or just spending the night out, follow these steps to avoid being ransacked by Harry & Marv.

Secure Your Valuables

Whether you’re parked on the street, the driveway, or garage, be sure to remove all valuables from your car. Valuables in plain sight are just taunting someone to break into your vehicle. Same goes for inside your home—stash important documents and jewelry either in a safe or hidden location. Try these top-secret spots to hide your most treasured items from Apartment Therapy.

Don’t Advertise Travel Plans Online

Of course you’re excited for that week long cruise you booked to the Bahamas, but you know who will be even more ecstatic, the thieves that have been eyeing your profile on social media. If you absolutely must post something, make sure your settings are private to conceal personal information from unwelcome onlookers.

Have a Friend or Family Member Check in

It’s always a good idea to let a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor know that you are headed out of town so they can be on the look out for any suspicious activity. Give them a spare key so they can check on the house from time to time and ask them to bring in your mail to avoid piles on the front porch, which is often a telltale sign that homeowners are on vacation. Consider holding your mail and any regular subscriptions if you can’t get someone to stop by regularly.

Make it Look Like Someone is Home

To create the appearance that someone is home, have indoor lights and outdoor holiday lights set on a timer. Keep the shades or curtains closed at all times. You can also fool thieves by connecting a radio to a timer or investing in a fake TV that simulates a realistic TV-set glow.

Looking for an extreme option? Imitate Kevin’s rocking holiday party with some dancing mannequins and cardboard cutouts that ride an electric train around the living room.

Lock Doors & Windows

This may be an obvious one, but you’ll want to double check that all locks are in working order. You’ll also want to remove any spare keys. This is an important one because someone could copy the set and access your home in the future.

Install a Security System

Whether you’re headed out of town or just around the corner, a security system can give you the peace of mind that your home and valuables are safe. In addition to installing a full-blown service with a security provider, there are plenty DIY home security systems to choose from including wireless network cameras, motion detectors, driveway alarms, and more.

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How will you protect your home during the holidays?