The holidays are a wonderful time of good cheer and joy, but that can all be dashed if you go out of town for the festivities and your home is robbed while you’re away. It’s an unfortunate reality that many thieves will target homes at this time, knowing both that families will be away and that there may be presents in the home that are worth quite a bit. To avoid a crime at your home, use these ideas.

Install Indoor and Outdoor Cameras

Security cameras can often help you avoid package theft while you’re away because they’re a huge deterrent. Thieves want nothing but the easiest targets. If they see outdoor cameras, they’ll often stay away from your home just because it’s too risky–and because they then know you may have an alarm system inside. Plus, if the thieves do chance it, cameras dramatically increase the odds they’ll be identified and caught.

Have Someone Pick Up the Mail

It’s also a great idea to have your neighbor come over once a day to get your mail. For one thing, this means the packages stay outside, where they could attract thieves, for less time. On top of that, thieves sometimes figure out if you’re home or not because the mail piles up when you’re gone. If your neighbor takes it in, your home looks lived in. For added effect, have him or her walk around in your yard a bit and shovel the front steps.

Tell the PoliceĀ 

In some cases, it can help to tell the police that you’re leaving and that you’d like them to drive by on occasion and make sure everything looks all right. The patrols can help police notice immediately if there has been a robbery, and the increased police presence is also a deterrent to criminals.

Close the Blinds and Hide Valuables

It’s usually helpful to hide anything of value, like a computer, your family jewelry, video game systems and the like. These are all high-priority targets because they’re easy to resell. It may be hard to hide everything–like a wall-mounted TV–so it can help to close the blinds so that thieves don’t know what you have.

Utilize Motion Sensors

Motion sensors can be used in a few different capacities, helping to keep the house safe when you can’t. For example, motion sensor cameras ensure that you’ll get pictures if anyone comes snooping around, and motion sensor lights will flip on automatically when people get close, often frightening thieves away.