The holiday season is here, so you’re likely busy shopping for gifts, attending parties, and travelling to visit relatives and friends. But now is also the time to think about your home’s security. Although July and August are the peak months for break-ins, Thousand of burglaries occur during November and December.

Here is a few home security tips for the holidays.

1.Conduct a security check.
Conduct a security check of your home by walking around the perimeter and thinking like a burglar. Look for weak points of entry, such as a door that doesn’t lock properly or an unlocked window and get them fixed. Then scan your yard for bikes, leaf blowers or other items that may tempt a burglar and secure them in the shed or garage. Finally, trim overgrown shrubs because they could conceal the burglar while he breaks into your home.

2.Don’t advertise your new gifts.
Placing perfectly wrapped gifts under your Christmas tree makes for a stunning holiday display, but it’s like eye candy to a burglar. Either ensure gifts can’t be seen through windows or habitually close curtains to keep curious criminals from scoping out your house. This tip applies to other goodies too; don’t leave your laptop or your kid’s pricey game console in sight.

3.Take advantage of home automation.
With a good home automation system you can achieve a lived in look by doing things like turning lights on or off, or programming the TV or radio to turn on at random times. Whether you’re at the office or visiting family for the holidays, home automation lets you control your home right from your web connected device and help keep burglars at bay.

4. Install a home security system.
Installing a monitored home security system offers a variety of benefits, not the least of which is it makes your home less likely to be burglarized. Plus, many systems allow you to view real-time video of your home, right from your smart phone, tablet or other connected device, which can give you valuable peace of mind while travelling.

5.Talk to your trusted neighbours
Make sure that you have someone watch your home while you are away. Most burglars target homes that seem to be unoccupied. Have the home watcher turn on a different light each night, collect the mail and newspapers that pile up, leave a television on, and so on.

If you live in an area where it snows, plan to have your driveway shoveled. And ask a trusted neighbour or friend leave tires tracks and footprints in the snow.

If your neighbourhood has a Neighbourhood Watch, you may want to notify them of your plans.

6.Keep your travel plans private.
We all want to brag about our holidays travel and post status updates once we’re there, but it is too easy to forget that most of what we say is public, searchable, and ripe for people to take advantage of.

Tell your plans only to those who need to know, and caution your kids to do the same as well. If your home is unattended while you’re away, save the social media updates and photos for after you’re back.

7.Lock vehicles.
Burglars aren’t the only bad guys out there. Petty criminals are known to canvas neighbourhoods looking for unlocked car doors. They’ll take anything they can get their hands on, like CDs, GPS devices, lose change, sunglasses, and even personal identifying information. Keep your car’s doors locked at all times and never leave gifts or other valuables in sight. You should also make it a habit to hide the garage door opener so it can’t be seen by those passing by, or better yet, take it with you when you go inside your home. If a burglar gets his hands on the garage door opener he’s not only able to grab the goodies stashed in the garage, he may gain access to your home through an interior door.

Don’t let a burglary dampen your holiday festivities. Use these tips to take a proactive approach to home security and help strengthen your home’s defence.