Install an alarm system. Some you can easily install yourself, some with monitoring costs of only $15 per month. Obviously, the system only functions when someone has invaded your home, but the noisy alarm may get them to leave quickly. The alarm system works as a deterrent only if there is an obvious sign posted outside and stickers on the windows.
Don’t advertise your absences. Don’t post your detailed vacation plans on social media. It may be better to have a friend or neighbor collect your newspapers and mail and keep them for you until you return. Light timers should operate your room lights in an irregular sequence, not just from dusk till bedtime. A timer can also turn on your TV or a radio during evening hours.
Don’t leave an accesssible spare key. Even novice burglars know where spare keys are kept and will quickly find them. Better to leave a key with a trusted neighbor in case you get locked out or need to have something checked while you are away.
Don’t make it easy for burglars. Expose shrubbery-covered points of entry. Use exterior lighting on doorways, activated by motion-sensors. Have high-quality deadbolt locks (and alarm sensors) installed on all exterior doors, including from the garage to the house. When away, lock your doors and windows At night, close and lock your downstairs windows and garage doors. If you leave ladders outdoors, secure them. (Burglars usually don’t bring their own and you shouldn’t supply them.) Install a bar to prevent your sliding glass door from being opened from the outside. Always lock any cars left outdoors, especially if you have a garage door opener in the car, in which case it should be out of sight.
Don’t leave valuables available. Burglars always go to the master bedroom because most people keep valuables (jewelry, extra cash, a firearm) there. Unless you have a wall safe (burglars don’t like to take the time to deal with them) consider keeping valuables in other areas.
Don’t be distracted. A favorite burglar tactic is for one burglar to distract you while another enters your house. If someone you don’t know is going to occupy your time at the front door, lock the rear door first. If someone asks you to step outside to look at your lawn or show him the property line, lock your house before leaving, or just refuse to go unless someone else is home.
Don’t rely on your dog. Your dog’s loud barking may alert you and your neighbors that someone is trying to enter your home, but even a pit bull won’t deter burglars; they know how to deal with dogs.
Know your neighborhood. Know your neighbors’ names and faces and pay attention to what cars they drive. That will make it easier to spot unusual people and vehicles, especially if they seem to be “casing” the neighborhood. Let your neighbors know if you’ve spotted unusual vehicles or people on their property.
Know who to call. “911” may be the fastest law enforcement contact, and should always be used in emergencies or to report a crime, but you should also know the “desk” number for the local, county and state police, and the nearest fire department if you need to call for information or to ask questions.