DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Grinch might have stolen Christmas, but do not let him steal your things! Before you pack up your car or hop on a plane to your holiday destination, it is important to make sure your home is protected from potential thieves.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said a lot of people do not realize how often burglars will watch a house before they break-in.

“Predators are predators. They take opportune times to do bad things to peoples, so this is the time that anybody who is planning to burglarize homes, steal packages, all of those things that occur during holidays. The ones who are going to do it, this is their prime time,” Sheriff Streck explained.

There are some things people can do to keep their homes safe while they are away. Sheriff Streck said it is always important to double check all doors and windows are locked, and that includes garage doors. He recommended leaving lights on outside your home and leaving a car parked in the driveway. He also said it is a good idea to use timers for your lights inside your home so it looks like someone is there.

“It is not just sitting dark with all the blinds and curtains closed, and no car in the driveway. That’s a clue to someone that nobody is there,” Sheriff Streck said.

If you are going to be gone for an extended amount of time, Sheriff Streck recommended having a friend or neighbor check on your home. You can even ask your local police department.

“Most law enforcement agencies have vacant home checks, so all you usually have to do is get on their website or give them a call, and an officer will usually stop by every day or several times a week, and check the doors, windows, make sure nobody has been there,” Sheriff Streck explained.

If you do get home to find a not so holly and jolly scene, Sheriff Streck said stay outside and immediately call police.

“The best thing to do is not even enter the house. Call 911, have law enforcement come out, search the house, clear the house,” Streck said.