Home ownership is one of the great opportunities available in our capitalistic society in the United States. Nearly 78,000,000 Americans own their own home. To say that it's a big business is an understatement. The average American has a mortgage on his house of close to $200,000. He has another $50-$60,000 invested in landscaping, furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

That adds up to over $250,000 and makes it the single biggest investment for 99% of the people who own a home. With that much money invested doesn't it make sense for them to protect it? Of course it does!

The act of burglary may seem perplexing and random to some people. Why would one house be the target of a burglar and not another? When it comes to home security, let me assure you that burglars do their homework and choose their targets carefully. And here's why.

There is a minor technicality in the law that differentiates between actually breaking into a house and walking in. As it turns out, close to 60% of all burglaries occur in homes with unsecured windows and doors, so all the bad guys have to do is crawl or walk in; they don't even need to break in.

Another issue is they only spend 10 minutes or less on average inside a home looking for things of value. And they are picky! They look for things that are either cash or can be readily converted to cash in a pawn shop. Such items might include handguns, rifles, smaller antiques, collectibles and certainly jewelry. Of course they look for credit cards too. But if they can't find what they want in 10 minutes, chances are they are going to leave empty-handed.

The average value of goods taken in a home burglary is $2,000 and climbing every year. The value of damage done to a home in a burglary is slightly over $2,000.

So for the burglar if he's in a home for 10 minutes or less and can steal $2,000 worth of goods, he can make a good living.

A burglar looks for signs of easy entry into the house with windows or doors that are frequently left open, garage doors that are open or even a tree that has branches that go up to a second story window. He will look for warning security signs of a security system in place or of a dog on the property. If he sees a security camera or any sign of the dog, he will stay away and pick on somebody else. And believe me, he's got plenty to choose from.

So do some smart things and start protecting your property with burglar alarms and diversion safes that hide valuables "in plain sight". It really doesn't take much to avoid saying "why me?"

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