Many people forget some of the more obvious home security practices that can be done to safeguard their homes. Here are six of the most common security mistakes people tend to make and how to overcome them.

1. Forgetting to Lock the Door

It may seem like an obvious statement, but you’d be surprised how many of us forget to secure entryways when leaving the house or turning in for the night. Close to 34% of all burglaries in the U.S. were filed as unlawful entries in 2012—meaning entrances did not require force.

2. Leaving the Alarm Disarmed

Your home monitoring system can only protect you if it has been armed. Make it a habit to turn on your system as soon as you enter your home and right before exiting. If you find yourself forgetting, create reminders, such as a note on the door or a special keychain to prompt you to action.

3. Advertising a Vacant Home

The lights are off, the cars are gone, and mail, newspapers and packages have accumulated. This paints the perfect picture for an easy burglary target. When leaving for a vacation or business trip, consider what your vacant home will look like, and seek ways to maintain the appearance of an active home.

  • Ask neighbors or relatives to pick up the mail in your absence.
  • Invest in an energy management solution that allows you to schedule and remotely control lights within your home.

See here for more home security tips for travelers, including why you should never post your upcoming plans to social media sites.

4. Neglecting to Maintain Your Home Security System

Security equipment should be checked annually by a professional. While self-testing is a good practice, a professional can give you a more specific diagnosis of your system.

Furthermore, you should inspect—and change the batteries of—smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually. Ensuring proper functionality is easy: For most models, you simply have to press and hold the button labeled “test” until the alarm sounds.

5. Leaving Valuables Visible

Leaving expensive items in plain view attracts burglars. Keep valuables out of sight and out of mind. Close garage doors when not in use, fold boxes from purchases inside out before throwing away, and close drapes to shield belongings from prying eyes.

6. Letting your Guard Down

Everyone thinks his or her neighborhood is immune to crime until it strikes. Regardless of how often your area is patrolled or how well you think your neighbors keep an eye out for one another never let your guard down. Intruders tend to capitalize on this complacent feeling.

Are you guilty of committing any of the above security mistakes? Share your experiences in the comment section below.