A lot of Iowans will be spending time away from their homes between now and the end of the year – enjoying a holiday vacation or visiting family and friends. Jessica Lown with the Iowa Department of Public Safety says, to protect yourself from a burglar, its a good idea to find a housesitter.

She suggests asking a high school kid, friend or neighbor that you trust with a key to your home. "That way, if something does happen, the sooner they can report it for you, get ahold of you and call police the better," Lown said. In addition, there are a number of ways to make it appear that the home is occupied.

"Leave a couple lights on or buy automatic timers so your lights come on at a specific time in the evening," Lown said. Burglars are often on the lookout for other clues that homeowners are gone, including full mailboxes or stacks of newspapers on the front step.

"If you have that housesitter, have them make sure that they’re picking up the newspaper, have them shovel the sidewalk if it’s snowing, again, so it doesn’t look like nobody’s home," Lown said. Home security experts also suggest closing curtains or drapes, so a burglar can’t see inside your home.