During the holiday season, many people travel to spend time with loved ones. The houses they leave empty are prime targets for burglars. Travelers should be filled with anticipation of steaming turkey and beautifully wrapped gifts, not worry that their homes will be robbed when they are away. Reduce the risk of a break-in by following the steps below.

Use automatic timers for lights throughout the home, programming each one to turn on and off at different times during the night. A dark house looks unattended, making it a target for robbers. Close shades and blinds to prevent anyone from seeing into the house and realizing that no one is home. Ask the U.S. Postal Service to suspend mail delivery for the vacation period.

Becoming friendly with neighbors can pay off in many ways including having people to stop by the house to make sure that nothing has been disturbed. While they are there, neighbors can water plants and feed animals, such as fish or hamsters that could not take the trip. Ask them to check the house for safety risks like leaking faucets or toilets during their visits.

A home security system offers the ultimate protection when no one is home. Activate the system before going away so the security company will be notified if the alarm is tripped. The provider will contact the police and homeowners if a possible robbery occurs. Newer models of these systems come with cameras that can be monitored from anywhere via an Internet connection.

It is not difficult or expensive to protect the home when no one is there. Families who make home security a priority will have a much more relaxing holiday vacation than those who leave the house exposed to robbers. The house will be as intact as it was left, welcoming the family home from their travels.