A big, bright Christmas tree in your window will certainly spread some good holiday cheer, but it could also be a signal that there are valuables in your home. If you're going to be traveling over the holidays, Laramie Police Department Commander Mitch Cushman has some tips to make your home more secure while you're gone.

“When people are going out of town they should look at their house to see if there are any ways that people could easily come in,” Cushman says to check all doors, windows and even pet entrances. “Any entrance that is unsecure, people could find a way in.”

Utilizing the services of a trusted neighbor or a relative who lives close by can also keep your home safe. Cushman says, “It’s not just enough that you secure your home, you also should do extra steps to make sure other people are watching it. If you know your neighbors you should talk to them about keeping an eye out."

For instance, Cushman recommends asking a neighbor, friend or relative to shovel your driveway if it snows and collect your mail for you so the mailbox does not become overstuffed. Canceling or temporarily suspending your newspaper subscription is another good option. According to Cushman, you want to avoid sending the message that the home is, well, alone.

“Those are just ways that you can fool people to think that you are there, but you’re really not." Cushman said. He also added that most of the crimes that take place in Laramie are "crimes of opportunity" meaning that it was not planned, but someone saw a chance to commit a crime and decided to seize the moment. So taking these simple steps before you head out of town, should keep your home safe until you return.