When a burglar was asked what the best ways were to keep him out of your house, he responded as follows:
Get an alarm system, and use the stickers/signs saying that you have one. I’m more likely to skip a house with an alarm system.
Don’t make it easy for me. Lock your doors, close your windows, and most importantly, lock them! 95% of the houses I have been in I just walked through the door or climbed through an open window.
Don’t leave tools laying around that’s going to make my job easier. Ladders, saws, drills, sledge hammers, putty knives, etc. All of these make it easier for me to get in your house.
Contrary to popular belief, most dogs aren’t a problem. Unless they’ve been trained to be dog guards, it doesn’t take much to make one friendly.
Don’t advertise! If you just bought an expensive piece of electronic equipment, jewelry, tools, etc. don’t brag about it in public, don’t leave the trash in sight, and don’t post about it on Facebook.
Use security hedges under your windows. If your house has rosebushes and your neighbors don’t I’m more likely to try their house first.
If it’s irreplaceable, don’t leave it out in the open. Get a safe for stuff like that, and make sure you bolt it down. I’ll happily take a safe with me and open it later.
Don’t live in a nice neighborhood. When I’m looking to steal, I don’t go to the poor neighborhoods. I go to the sub divisions and wealthier areas.
Don’t assume I’m going to wait until it’s dark to rob a place. Between 9am and noon are the best times to hit. Most everyone is gone to work; those who aren’t are running errands or sleeping. That being said, invest in motion sensor lights. If someone is outside your house at night, this can help.
Finally, be suspicious and alert! Is there someone new walking your neighborhood that doesn’t live there? Is someone getting yard care/pest control/deliveries outside of what’s normal for them? Does the same car keep cruising around at different times?
You see, I’ll study a neighborhood before I strike. Sometimes I’ll spend upwards of a month. I’ll note times people leave and arrive. I’ll note when/if cops patrol certain areas, and when. I’ll pay attention to delivery times, mailman times, and various other service people to see when they arrive, what they do, how they’re dressed, etc.
I’ll watch to see who leaves windows open, who forgets to lock their doors, and so on.
It doesn’t take much time to make a hit and get away either. On average I spend 8 minutes in a house. Rarely more than that.