According to NBC Bay Area News, thieves recently targeted a home for sale in east San Jose and stole a refrigerator. It is believed thieves cased the home during an open house held a few days earlier. The home was apparently vacant at the time. The thieves returned three days later to steal more items, but their attempt was thwarted since this time, there was an occupant in the home and the police were contacted.

Below are safety tips from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® for members to share with their clients that may help avoid being a target of theft. Agents may also want to consult their clients on whether or not to indicate a vacant property is “staged” in the MLS public remarks.

• Make the home look occupied. Use automatic timers on lights, a TV, and/or radios and set them to go on and off at different times to make your house appear occupied. Install motion detectors on the exterior of your home and garage/shed.

• Keep curtains/blinds closed and lock all doors and windows. Use wooden stakes inside door/window frames to prevent them from being opened from the outside.

• Keep the property maintained, grass mowed, and leaves raked. Trim trees and shrubs so they can’t conceal burglars.

• Inform the police and trusted neighbors that the house will be vacant for an extended time.

• Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the property and call 9-1-1 immediately if they see or hear any suspicious activity. Ask them to park their vehicle in the driveway and/or pick up fliers or circulars that may be left on the front porch, driveway, or in the newspaper box.

• Consider installing an alarm system and/or security cameras.

• Consider hiring a house sitter to prevent the home from being vacant during the selling period.

• Refrain from putting “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs in front of your property.

• Never leave a spare house key under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes, or other hiding places.

• Place the lockbox out of plain sight, so it is not easily visible to passersby.

• Don’t place posts on social networking sites that inform others that the house is for sale.

View the NBC Bay Area news broadcast HERE.