According to The National League of Cities, municipalities have cut their public safety budgets by 63 percent on average. That means there aren't as many law-enforcement pros around to patrol the streets and keep an eye on your home.
Security expert Chris McGoey advises homeowners and corporations on crime prevention. He says most home burglaries happen in the afternoon, so, while nighttime lighting is a good idea, you should focus first and last on making sure you have secure doors and ground-floor windows. "Burglars prefer the front door. They try the handle first; if that doesn’t work, they try to kick in the door," says McGoey. "Many doors will fly open because dead bolts are often held in place by a few half-inch wood screws and the door jamb isn’t solid. Beef up the locks and door jambs to every entrance."
McGoey dismisses the popular advice to stop your mail and newspaper deliveries when you're away. "Why trust the newspaper delivery people? You don’t want them to know you're not home." Rely on your neighbors instead. "It’s a lost art, but I make it my business to know my neighbors," says McGoey. "I always let two of them know if I’m going away. They park their cars in my drive and pick up fliers and newspapers that pile up."
Finally, says McGoey, take a picture of everything of value at home. That way, if you are robbed, you have some hope of making an insurance claim that sticks.