Protect your home during the holidays: 5 police-recommended ways to keep the burglars away

CLEVELAND - After almost a week of intense shopping—Brown Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday—your home could be stuffed with goodies that thieves desperately want to get.

That's one reason why December ranks second for home break-ins, according to the FBI.

Our sister station in Cleveland has put together five easy ways to help you stay protected this holiday season.

#5: Get a dog.

Home burglary experts say having a dog helps protect your home. And now is the perfect time to get one because local adoption agencies typically slash their adoption fees around the holidays.

#4: Hide your boxes.

Did you stand in the cold on Thanksgiving or Black Friday to be among the first in the stores so you could get that brand new HDTV or other high-end gifts? Well good for you, but don't let all that effort go to waste by tempting a burglar.

Experts say people who put the leftover boxes from their big purchases out in front of the house are just letting criminals know what's on the inside. So either keep the boxes in storage or dispose of them discreetly.

#3: Put blinds and curtains on your shopping list.

You want to avoid having people be able to see clearly into your home at night. Experts recommend you use blinds or curtains to avoid the thieves from looking through your windows.

#2: Use "sign language" to scare crooks.

Security signs also help to deter thieves. A career criminal said that when he sees those signs, he tends to move on to the next home. "It's safer," he said.

If you don't have a dog, buy a "Beware of Dog" sign anyway. It could be enough to make criminals think twice before breaking-in to your home.

#1: Stop advertising when you're gone.

Yes, you love Facebook and Twitter, but there are some things you shouldn't share, especially when you're headed out-of-town status.

As you continue your holiday shopping, make sure to keep these tips in mind so you're not a victim of theft.

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