Home break-ins may seem unlikely, but there are 2.5 million burglaries each year and 66% of those are home break-ins. Although crime statistics will vary by region, there is still a possibility you may be a potential target, especially if you aren’t properly protecting your home.

With this in mind, we compiled a list of the five most common home security mistakes people make. Read the common errors below to ensure you don’t make yourself an easy target for burglars.

Hiding a Spare Key outside the Home

It’s a common tactic for homeowners to hide spare keys around their houses, whether it be placed inside a fake rock, in a nearby plant, or the most common, under the welcome mat. Because this is so well known, most burglars are aware of this and can easily find the hidden key, making breaking into your home quite simple. Avoid hiding a spare key around the outside of your house and instead, opt to keep it in a safer place, such as with a trusted neighbor. You don’t want to risk your spare key getting into the hands of an intruder.

Making it Obvious You Are out of Town

Understandably so, people are excited about vacations, and they like to share their travel information with the people around them, specifically through the use of social media. With social media being so common, it is now a great way for burglars to target houses when the owners out of town because they see online that they are traveling. Many social media users advertise when they are out of town, blatantly saying how long they will be gone for, giving intruders exact dates for when they could target the home while no one is home.

There are also other obvious signs when a homeowner is out of town, making it simple for intruders to spot a vacant home, such as piled up newspapers in the driveway, a full mailbox, no turned on lights, etc. To protect your home when traveling, try to be cautious when going on vacation and don’t disclose your travel information until you are home. Also, plan for a trusted person to collect your newspapers and mail and consider leaving a few lights on while you’re out of town so it looks like someone is always home.

Forgetting to Lock Doors and Windows

34% of burglars enter through the front door. Even if it’s just for a minute or two, keep all of the entry points to your home locked at all times when possible. Especially if potential intruders are scoping out your house and are aware of your regular schedule beforehand, they may know the best time to target your home. Don’t make it easy for them by leaving a window or door unlocked for them to enter through without difficulty.

It’s also important to note that someone is home during three out of every ten burglaries. So, even if you are home, keep all windows and doors locked, especially at night.

Using Fake Security Equipment

Many homeowners choose to set up fake security equipment outside of their homes to make it seem like they have a security system in place. While this may deter a certain percentage of potential intruders, fake equipment is often easily spotted as a fraud.

A common fakeout people use is placing fake security company signs around their yard. However, this is problematic for two reasons: these signs are often fake and are not from legitimate security companies, which an intruder can easily figure out; and, there may be possible legal ramifications for using legitimate security company signs without a proper purchase and without their knowledge.

To be safe, avoid using fake security equipment and consider installing a real home security system to protect yourself and your family from a possible home break-in.

Not Having a Home Security System

All of the above are common home security mistakes, but likely the biggest mistake overall is not having a home security system in place and expecting your home to be safe on its own. A home security system is an investment, but there are many top-rated home security companies that are affordable and offer exceptional services. The average cost of a one-time break-in is $2,251, whereas the monthly cost of a home security system could be as little as $19.99 with a home security company like Protect America.

Thank you to guest writer, McCall Robison. McCall is currently a Content Marketing Strategist for BestCompany.com. She personally manages its Home Security Blog and enjoys covering topics related to safety and security.