Your long-awaited vacation is just around the corner. Before your journey begins, consider these smart vacation home security suggestions to help deter burglars from spotting your absence and helping themselves to your belongings.

Start with outdoor and indoor lighting. Nighttime thieves hate lights. If you’re able to have outdoor lights on from dusk to dawn to light up your property, do so. Put indoor lights on timers and stagger their on and off to different times, with an occasional bedroom or bathroom light on during the wee hours. Having a TV go on for a few late-night hours can also be a great idea.

Stop mail delivery and newspapers. A chock-full mailbox is just so inviting. The post office will halt deliveries at no cost to you. Accumulating newspapers (if you still have home delivery) can also attract unwanted attention.

Lock any remaining cars. Then put the keys away in an out-of-sight location. Make a note to yourself as to where you put the keys, so upon your return you’re not the one searching for them.

Consider a home security system. If you have a monitoring security service, wonderful! If you don’t, consider one of the newer camera-mobile systems to check up regularly while you’re away. Many send you a prompt when anyone approaches your home, so you can speak directly or call the police or a neighbour right away.

Shut off the water main supply. A burst pipe, leaking toilet, defective water heater, or split clothes washer hose can create damage that you don’t want to deal with. Shutting off the main water supply to your property can avoid the loss of huge amounts of water and the many headaches that will accompany this incident.

What are friends and neighbours for? You don’t mind watching out while they’re away, so chances are they will be happy to return the favour. Be sure they have a quick way to reach you on vacation in case of an emergency, or even if there’s just a simple question that occurs to them.

Alert neighbourhood watches and the police. If you’ve left word of the dates you’re going to be gone, they have a better understanding should anything look suspicious. Once again, make sure to leave them a way to get in touch with you.

About the curtains? If you normally have them closed, continue the habit. If you leave them open while home, do the same when you’re away. But do remove tempting items: computers, jewellery, or anything that might tempt a passerby is best kept out of sight.

As for those delightful Facebook posts. Your online friends aren’t the only folks on Facebook and other social media. Resist the urge to post; send a message or email instead. Once you return, post to your heart’s content.

Last but not least. Remember to lock all doors and windows. Remove that under-the-mat hidden key. And if the vacation is for several weeks, hire someone to mow the lawn; overgrown grass is an obvious sign of a vacant home.