Here's good advice from a sheriff's office about how to protect your house.
Burglars and home invaders don't give a flying hoot if you keep thinking, "It can't happen to me and this is a safe neighborhood." In fact, the issue isn't how safe your neighborhood is or how watchful your neighbors are. The issue is how easy it is to simply break into your home.
Think of the other safety precautions you take daily even though the odds of an unfortunate outcome are very small, such as making sure you take your vitamins, or making sure not to miss brushing your teeth before bedtime. Yet you leave your garage door open because you think your neighborhood is safe? What the...?!
Keep your garage door closed. A threat may not be imminent, but any passer-by may actually be a thief scouting around to see who has the goods, and he sees some real goodies in your garage; he'll make a note of your address for a later crime.
Don't leave boxes that contained expensive items sticking out of garbage cans. Did you know that burglars love to see what's poking out of garbage cans? Trash cans are the windows to the soul of your house.
Religious thumpers. Savvier burglars will go door to door pretending to represent a religion-they may even have a bible on hand-but their goal is to feel you out. I'm not suggesting that you shout at them to get lost and slam the door so hard that it shakes the frame. But if you present as wishy washy and unable to say "No thank you," this tells the burglar you're easy prey. It's better to talk through the door opposed to opening it.
Petition supporters. The burglar may be pretending to sell something or collect signatures for some strange petition.
Product sales. Another scam is for the burglar to name a date and time they'll be back to deliver a product if you show an interest in it. They're hoping you'll say, "I won't be home then; can you stop by another time?" The crook will be sure to show up at the time you won't be home-to rob you cold.
Alarm company employee. If someone's at your door claiming to be from your alarm company (if you have one), or some alarm company (if you don't), this IS a ruse to find out if you have an alarm system that works-even if he's wearing an outfit with the company's name. Alarm companies don't send people out in the field for unsolicited visits to homeowners.
Secure all entrances. Don't just layer up the security of your front door. What about a porch door in the back? What about windows to your basement?
Makes sure valuables are not visible through your first-floor windows. This is another way thieves case houses.
Before leaving for out of town, contact the local police and request a vacation patrol check of your house. Be sure to indicate whether or not anyone is expected to be there such as someone to mow the lawn.