Most break-ins are preventable with simple burglar-proofing techniques. Make sure they're in place before you head for your holiday.
Step 1: Think like a burglar Think like a burglar: Walk around the outside of your home, looking for ways you could break in. A burglar's main criterion when choosing a home is that they can get in quickly without being seen. See if any expensive items are visible through a window. Secure your home by plugging up any security holes you find.
Step 2: Shine a light on crime Install lights near entry points and put them on a timer, or consider installing motion-sensitive ones. A burglar won't feel secure in a spotlight.
Step 3: Don't announce your absence Don't announce your absence. Suspend newspaper and mail delivery; don't talk about your vacation on social-networking sites; put lights, TVs, and radios on variable timers; arrange for someone to shovel if it snows or mow the lawn if you'll be on vacation more than two weeks; ask a neighbor to put a garbage can at your curb on trash days.
TIP: Pull the car into the garage or around the back of your home to load it up with luggage.
Step 4: Burglar-proof your garage If you have an automatic garage door opener, lock your garage manually from the inside and disengage the electronic device before you go on vacation; it will prevent burglars from using a decoder to open the door.
TIP: Lock the door between your house and your garage; it's a favorite entry point of burglars.
Step 5: Lock your shed If you have a garden shed, lock it up. Burglars like to borrow ladders and tools to break into houses.
Step 6: Padlock valuables Lock up valuables in a home safe that can be bolted to the floor, or in a safe deposit box. Include any documents that could lead to identity theft. Now go enjoy your vacation, secure in the knowledge that you've done everything possible to prevent a break-in.
FACT: Americans burglary victims lose an average of $2,079.