Make your home look occupied even when it's not
Leave some of your drapes or blinds open partially as you would when you are there. Choose ones that will not allow the burglar to see any of your valuables on display. Buy an inexpensive timer or two that will automatically turn random lights and a radio on/off at certain times. If you're going away for several days, see if you can get a neighbor to park their car in your driveway at night and collect your mail. Have your newspaper delivery temporarily stopped. Don't broadcast any vacation plans.
Establish and be active in a Neighborhood Watch Group
Encourage your neighbors to be active also. You can keep an eye on each others homes. If you see anything suspicious, notify the police immediately. Watch for things like:
- A strange car or truck in the driveway
- Suspicious movement inside a home
- A stranger loitering in the neighborhood
Write down a description of the car, truck, loiterer, etc. Get license number of suspicious vehicles.
Good locks can make it more difficult to break into your home
Be sure you have deadbolt locks on all your exterior doors and the door leading from the garage to the house. Have a night chain and peep-hole in your front door so you can find out who's outside before opening the door. An intercom or video camera would be even better.
For sliding glass doors use through-frame pins that require a lock be opened with a key before the pins can be removed. For windows you can use wedge devices to prevent opening. If you move into a new apartment, or loose your keys, have the locks re-keyed by a locksmith.
Don't leave a key under the mat for "emergencies." Don't keep your house key on the same keyring with your car keys. Give keys only to those who absolutely need one. And remember, the best locks are no help if they are not being used. More than half of all burglaries occur during daylight hours, and 70% gain access thru unlocked doors or windows.
Don't let strangers into your home without first checking them out
Burglars have been known to "case" a home by first gaining entry disguised as a repairman, etc. so they can study your locks and windows for possible means of entry, and check out your valuables. Have a chain latch on your front door, and keep it latched while you study their identification.
Call their supervisor to make sure they are who they say they are before letting them in. A stranger wanting to use your phone should wait outside while you make the call for them.
An alarm system can provide peace-of-mind
Dogs aren't the answer. While a barking dog is the burglar's enemy, your family pet is subject to injury or death at the hands of the burglar. Guns aren't the answer.
Statistics show that the burglar is more likely to win in a shootout with a homeowner. A modern alarm system is a much better solution and costs have come way down in recent years. You can have the peace-of-mind afforded by a quality alarm system for as little a $24.95 per month.