I regularly meet with LMPD officers to discuss crime in District 9 and always hear the same tips, which could vastly decrease crime if everyone always followed them. For vehicles, the best advice is to always lock doors and leave nothing of value visible through the windows

Here are tips for your home security:

  1. Lock all doors and windows

It’s extremely important to make sure that your doors and windows are shut and locked, both when you’re inside your home and when you’re away. This is the first thing that potential burglars check when trying to break into homes, and something as simple as locking the door could possibly prevent a home invasion. As such, you’ll want to make sure you remind your family members to lock the door behind them every time they leave and come back inside the house.

  1. Don’t leave a spare key

With the craziness of the holiday season combined with your kids having extracurricular activities and hectic-after school schedules, many parents think it’s a good idea to leave a spare key under a mat or rock near a door. Contrary to belief, this is something that should be avoided at all costs, as these are common areas for burglars to look at as a means to get inside your home. Instead, make sure your children or family members keep a spare key on them, or have them wait at a neighbor’s house until you or someone else is home to let them in.

  1. Remove valuable items from plain sight

This means laptops, jewelry, home entertainment systems, holiday gifts or anything that would entice a burglar to break into your home. If you personally can see it from the street or by merely glancing through a window, so can burglars. Make sure you close the curtains when you aren’t home, and if you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, consider moving valuables (including holiday gifts) into a safe or locked away somewhere else in your home that cannot be easily seen through windows, such as a closet.

  1. Make it look like someone is home

You can help ward off would-be burglars by simply giving the illusion that someone is always home. While you’re away at work or school, you can set a timer for lights and other appliances to switch on and off periodically. Most home security systems have home automation systems that allow you to control these types of things remotely from your smartphone or tablet, which is great if your timers malfunction or you forget to set them. And if you’re able to, have a trusted friend or neighbor house sit or check in on your home if you’re away on vacation or visiting relatives for the holidays. Be sure to also ask the friend or neighbor to take in your mail, as that is usually a dead giveaway that someone isn’t home. If you don’t plan to have someone watch your home, make sure you put a temporary stop on your mail.

  1. Check your alarm system regularly

Far too often, those with home security systems get too comfortable and feel so secure that they forget to do regular upkeep of these systems. You’ll want to make test your alarm keypad and ensure your door and window sensors are fully functioning and have batteries that are working. After all, what good is your home security system if it’s not even active? Also, make sure you set the alarm while you’re away from home, as a home security system isn’t effective if it’s not set.