Most thieves follow a pattern. First, they like to operate without forced entry. Many burglaries occur weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., not at night. Many thieves choose to enter your home casually, by way of an unlocked door, so that an observing neighbor would assume nothing was amiss.
Be aware that many burglars are dangerous criminals. A substantial proportion of violent crimes that occur in the home are committed during household burglaries.
When at home, there are several things you can do to make it harder for burglars. Good lighting is one of the greatest deterrents to a thief. Burglars love poorly lighted homes, so replace burned-out bulbs quickly. Consider installing fixtures or lawn lights in dark areas. Floodlights mounted on the corner of your home can light the walls of the house in both directions. Such lights are inexpensive, relatively easy to mount and are highly effective in reducing break-ins.
Keep your shrubs trimmed; they make a good place for a thief to hide. Dense shrubs can also provide a makeshift ladder for the intruder to climb through a window. Be aware that thieves can gain entry by removing your window air conditioner. Make sure your unit is fastened to the sill or the window frame.
Try to avoid regular routines that make it obvious you are away from home at specific times of the day or night. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but vary the routines of departure and arrival as much as possible. It's also wise to keep your curtains and drapes pulled shut at night.
Join a "Neighborhood Watch" group. Local police departments have information on starting a neighborhood watch program, and many have special officers who will help you and your neighbors set one up.