As the economy has worsened, I hear reports of increased burglaries in my area. Petty theft is fueled in part by desperation - people need to eat, after all - and by opportunity. Here's what you need to know about break ins.
Most burglaries take place during the day. Think about it. Who's home to stop someone from coming in and helping themselves to your electronics, jewelry, cash and whatever else is easy to nab. That's why so many people have home security systems. But, on average, it takes five minutes for police to respond to an alarm. It takes burglars about three minutes to clear you out. A dog that stays out in the backyard may not be much help either because the majority of criminals use your front door or first story window.
One of the best defenses is joining your neighborhood watch. Having someone in your community - preferably in sight of your house - keeping an eye on the comings and goings is a great deterrent to any would-be criminal. Always keep your doors and windows locked. That sounds so ridiculously obvious, but some people never bother with locks. If you have a dog that's well enough behaved, you may want to leave them in the house or with the option to come in and out through a doggy door. According to the local police department, dogs were a major deterrent because of their unpredictability.
I know most of you won't ever have a problem with a break in, but considering burglaries account for nearly 2/3 of all U.S. crimes, this is one time its definitely worth taking some precautions.