The reason most homeowners do not take adequate steps to protect their home security is the prevalent belief that a robbery only happens to “other people.” If you believe that you’ll never become a crime victim, it is time to protect yourself. Most home invasions happen to those who never thought it could happen, and never took the steps to prepare their home against such crimes.

By taking a proactive approach to home security, you can regain control of your family’s safety. A few simple techniques, such as better locks and outdoor lighting, can make your home a less attractive target for a home invasion. You may be surprised to learn that many potential burglars learn all they can about you and your home before breaking in. Here are a few things they may already know about your family:

1) Where all of your cash and jewelry is hidden. No matter how well-hidden you think your valuables are, experienced burglars will find them quickly, even though they’ve never been in your home. The first places they check are the bedside table, the lingerie drawer, dresser drawers, and jewelry boxes. Many families opt for a large home safe to keep their valuables protected. A burglar may not be able to crack the lock, but if it’s small enough, the entire safe may be stolen. Statistics show that during a home invasion, kids’ rooms are some of the safest areas of the house. Burglars know that you won’t keep anything valuable in a child’s playroom.

2) How your home is laid out. Some experienced burglars may even scope out your home’s interior by posing as a maintenance man, yard worker, or stranded motorist. During this first visit, they may not steal anything, but it gives them a good chance to see what you have and where to visit first. They may even unlatch a window, making their return entry even easier. Real estate ads and other public records may divulge far too much information on your home and its layout.

3) How to get inside quickly and undetected. Many families inadvertently leave a door or window unlocked at night. If not, the spare key is often found in a flower pot or under the doormat. Shrubs or trees near windows make it easier for a burglar to break in without being spotted. Burglars target homes with easy-to-enter doors or windows that are left without the protection of cameras, alarms, or lighting.

4) Your family’s daily routine. Some burglars will watch you for more than a week to establish the optimum time to enter your home. Though it may feel like every day is a new adventure, most families’ routines remain the same from day to day, making it easy to guess when the home will be empty. There are other tricks, such as leaving a pizza flyer on the door or a newspaper in the driveway, that can tip burglars off to your routines. Thieves sometimes even turn to MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook to learn their targets’ lifestyle. Such seemingly insignificant details as when you’re planning to eat dinner can be used by a resourceful criminal.

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