1. One thing every homeowner should do at least twice a year is take a walk around and through your property with a close friend or neighbor who is not too familiar with your house. Start outside and ask yourself "how would I best break in? The purpose of not doing it alone is your pal may spot things you'll overlook. Return the favour and complete a survey for your friend.
2. Besides the obvious "lived-in" look, don't get into a habit of only doing certain things only when you're not home. Chances are good you can tell when your neighbour isn't home. Remember it's a burglar's job to know the same things. Most professional criminals can tell nobody's home at least four or five houses away.
3. If you don't have a dog there's nothing stopping you from pretending. A Beware of Dog sign on your fence, a dog house in the back yard, even a loose dog chain or bowl can drive away a potential burglar.
4. Electronic devices that are effective besides the typical whole house alarm systems for windows and doors are infrared or motion detectors that sense movement or the heat given off by one's body. Anyone approaching too close will trigger any number of attached devices. The most effective are powerful lights or burglar horns that either flood the area with light or fill the air with a deafening sound without notice. Just like a barking dog, the would-be burglar will usually hightail it out of there for fear of being discovered. Also be sure such devices are high enough that they can't be easily turned off or broken.
5. Take a few minutes and install 2-1/2 to 3 inch stainless steel or nickel plated screws in all your exterior door jams. Be sure screws go at least 1-3/4 inch deep into the underlying framing lumber.
6. Any kind of sliding glass door is a favourite target. Guard against the door being lifted up and out by installing several screws into the door's upper track. Open and shut the door through its entire range to allow just enough of the screw's head protruding to allow free movement without allowing the door to be removed. Several devices can be installed into the door's upper or lower track that acts much like a dead bold by running a heavy pin through the door track and deep into the frame.
7. The above steps can go a long way to protecting your home but no matter how secure your residence is, if a professional burglar has targeted your home and is determined to break in, the unthinkable may still happen. To aid law enforcement agencies and greatly assist in insurance claims you should maintain a detailed household inventory of all your valuables.