The holiday period is one of festivities, fun, family and friends for most of us. For an unfortunate few, there is a measure of unhappiness brought on by a home burglary. Our county may have a lower crime rate than the metropolitan areas, but we are not thief-proof.

City Watch Security and Service® provides these suggestions for the season and the rest of the year:

If you intend to leave your home, lock your doors and windows. Stop newspapers. Ask a neighbor to bring in the garbage container, pick up deliveries and any materials left outside. Use outside security lighting and lights on timers indoors set for what appears to be "random" schedules. (Criminals do not like light, especially in the winter when they are more exposed to view.) Provide the folks living close by with your contact information. Let them know if anyone is expected to be on your property during your absence. Call your local law enforcement and provide important information for their patrol officers..

If you happen to be the friendly neighbor, keep an eye out for vehicles passing the vacant house … vehicles you do not recognize. Those who are planning a home entry are scouting every day. They are cruising in trucks outfitted to look like service workers, cars slowly moving like holiday visitors or prospective buyers. They ride cycles, bikes and ATVs on occasion and even walk. Note their transportation and get descriptions of the people involved. When you get the feeling that something is suspicious or out of the ordinary, contact the law. Your call will be taken seriously.

Perhaps, you are not taking a trip this season and all you are doing today is running to the grocery or taking a short trip in the area. Secure your residence even if you never did it in the past. Times are hard for some. Holiday gifts are items of opportunity to the thief. Flat screen TVs, IPhones, wallets and purses and so much more are tempting treasures. An unanswered ring at your doorbell might mean the potential invader is there to gain easy entry. It only takes a very few minutes to make a successful haul and bring you holiday unhappiness.

This holiday crime watch advice is provided by Arkansas Constable Ingram Philips. He is the owner of CWSS and has free booklets with hints on reporting suspicious vehicles and people. For more information, contact him at (501) 253-8989.