5 most useful, police-recommended ways to protect your home from burglars

After almost a week of furious 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.

NewsChannel5's Michael Baldwin has put together these five ways you can avoid being a victim.

#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 the Cleveland Kennel has slashed their adoption fee from $61 to $20 until Christmas Eve.

#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 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 and curtains to avoid the thieves from having a clear view of your things.

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

Security signs also help to deter thieves. I interviewed a career criminal who told me when he sees those signs, he tends to move on to the next home. He told me, "It's safer."

Same goes if you don't want or can't have a dog. Getting a "Beware of Dog" sign could be enough to make criminals think twice before breaking-in to your house.

#1: Stop advertising when you're gone.

Yes, you love Facebook and Twitter, but there are some things you shouldn't share there. Like your out-of-town status.

Police say, when you post when you're coming and going, you may not be talking only to your friends. Even if it is "friends only" on your profile, a police officer told me some "friends" may be down on their luck and see an opportunity.

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