Install a security doorbell camera
Most burglars ring the doorbell before they try to break in (to make sure no one is home). For less than $200, you can easily mount a motion-activated video doorbell camera by your front door, and set it up to alert you on your smartphone anytime someone steps onto your front porch. Speak to him, make him think you are home even you are not, the intruder will have no choice but to flee the scene.
Alarm systems aren't the most reliable
That said, alarm systems are actually not very good at catching crooks. One study found that police were more likely to catch burglars in the act at locations that don’t have alarms — because when there’s no alarm, officers are usually responding to the report of an eyewitness, which is far more reliable. Why’s that? Because 80 to 95 percent of all alarms nationwide are false alarms. Many large police departments won’t even respond to your alarm unless it’s verified by sound, video, a private security guard, or an eyewitness. Your city may also fine you for repeat false alarms.
The police don't respond right away
Police response times are slow, and burglars know it. In many large cities, it can take police 30 minutes to an hour to respond to an alarm call, according to the New York Times. Even in small towns, it typically takes 7 to 8 minutes for authorities to arrive. By then, a snatch-and-go burglar will be long gone. (A siren will limit how long a burglar stays in your home, however.)
Some other low-cost ways to protect your castle: Install strong locks on your front and back doors, put up window coverings so burglars can’t see what’s inside (especially if you have clear glass panes on your front door), cut back shrubs near windows and install out-of-reach outdoor lighting. When you go out of town, create the illusion you’re home by putting your lights on timers or getting LED bulbs you can control remotely.
Don't keep valuables in the master bedroom
Want to trick a thief? Don’t keep jewelry or cash in the master bedroom. That’s always the first place they look. If you really want to protect your stuff from being snatched, stash it in a safe that is bolted down. Or at the very least, don’t hide it in the obvious spots – dresser or desk drawers, your bedside table or the kitchen freezer.
Don't just lock up jewelry
Remember, your paper documents can be just as valuable as your jewelry. Stash your birth certificate, social security card and other papers in a bolted-down safe, keep them in a safe deposit box or hide them in an unexpected spot. Becoming a victim of identity theft is much harder to recover from than having your jewelry stolen.
Steer clear of glass doors
Doors with clear glass panels and a view into your home are the greatest thing in the world for a burglar. They may look inside and say, ‘Great, I can smash this window, get in there and grab the laptop I see on the kitchen counter before the cops are called.’ Or ‘Oh, the dog is in a cage… I’m good.’ If your door has glass, get it frosted.
Fences can do more harm than good
Your five-foot privacy fence may shield your backyard from your neighbors, but it also offers cover to a burglar breaking in. A U.S. Dept. of Justice study noted that burglars are more likely to target homes that have high fences and walls to shield them.