Thanksgiving is up and coming! For most Americans, this holiday means (so much) food and family time. Of course, to have that family time, many Americans need to travel a variety of distances to join in the celebration with their family members. If you’ll be leaving your home this holiday, make sure that you’re taking the proper steps to secure your home when you leave and while you’re away—even if it’s just for a few days.

Here are some things you can do to prepare for leaving an empty home during the holidays to make sure no criminals take advantage of this time of year when they know many homes will be empty.

Know Your Neighbor

Ask a trusted neighbor or nearby friend to

  • Watch over your house and report anything suspicious.
  • Collect any newspapers, flyers, or mail that arrives at your doorstep or in your mailbox.
  • Park a car in your driveway to make it look like someone’s home.

Anyone Home?

  • Trim overgrown trees or shrubbery.
  • Remind all household members to avoid posting travel plans on social media.
  • Leave a light on or put some TVs, radios, or lamps on timers to turn on every evening.
  • (Optional) Install motion sensing lights on the exterior of your home.

Under Lock and Key

  • Secure ladders, tools, sheds, and lawn furniture.
  • Put valuables in a safety deposit box or a home safe that is very heavy or bolted to the ground.
  • Remove “hidden” keys placed outdoors around your house.
  • Secure pet doors (if any)
  • Bar and secure sliding glass doors (if any)
  • Lock every door and window
  • Arm your home security system
  • Lock your garage door after you pull out

If you know any friends or family travelling for the holidays, share this with them so that we all keep our communities safe this season. If you want something that you could print out and stick on your fridge, check out this handy pdf.