Have you ever wondered why your neighbor's house was burglarized but yours was left alone? It could be that your house looks like a more difficult burglary target than your neighbor's house does. For instance, you might have a home security system installed with signs posted in your lawn and windows. Burglars do not like home security systems. They know that their odds of getting caught are much higher if a homeowner has a home security system installed. However, a burglar alarm is not the only thing criminals look for when choosing a target.

According to police departments, burglars will wander through neighborhoods looking for lawns that are overgrown, mailboxes that are overstuffed, houses that do not have adequate lighting and lights that are on timers. These are all indications that the homeowner is out of town and that the house is empty. They also might also look for houses that are hidden behind bushes and trees so they can do their work in hiding.

It is clear that many burglaries occur when homeowners are on vacation or otherwise away from their homes for an extended period. For this reason, you should take steps to make it look like your home is occupied at all times.

1. Always lock all doors and windows prior to leaving or going to bed. It doesn't matter if you are just going to the grocery store or going on a month-long excursion, lock your doors.

2. When you leave your house for any amount of time, leave lights on, but leave different ones on each time you leave the house. If you are leaving for a vacation or business trip, put your lights on timers, but ensure that you set different lights to go on at different times.

3. Never leave your garage door open or unlocked.

4. If you are going to be gone for a while, either have the post office stop your mail or a trusted neighbor to pick it up for you on a daily basis.

5. In the summer, have a neighbor mow your lawn once a week or more often if needed.

6. Always make sure your locks are in good working condition and fix them if they aren't.

7. All doors that lead to the outside should be equipped with a deadbolt.

8. Sliding glass doors should include a bar or rod in the track so they cannot be opened from the outside.

9. Check and fix your locks on your windows.

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