Home Protection Pitfalls

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They're looking for "easy," like anyone else. Their targets are the homeowners who make it simple mistakes crooks know and love.

For example, Sgt. Vern Elliott, III, of the Ingham County Sheriff's Office says hiding a key is an absolute no-no.

"Crooks know that. They look for it. Now they've got an easy way into your home once they find it," Elliott says.

Another common blunder is one you thought was doing you good. "You do wanna have the lights on, but you don't want the same lights on," Elliott says.

Leaving the same light on every time you're out is an advertisement you're out. Use timers, so the right lights are on at the appropriate time of day.

Also, don't be fooled into thinking your big canine has you covered. A small dog may be better than a big one. The key is having them trained correctly.

"The biggest think is you want somebody to know you do have a dog and for the dog to bark if somebody's on your porch or property," says Elliott.

If a robber does get in, don't make the mistake of offering up your stuff inside. They look in the bedroom, so put your valuables somewhere else.

Also, keep bushes and trees trimmed around windows at all times. It'll help your neighbors clearly see who is outside, and they can thereby help you.

Finally, let them help you avoid the mistake of canceling your mail or newspaper. You're right, it's a mistake to let them pile up, but call on a friend or neighbor to pick them up.

"Then it looks like mails being delivered and being picked up rather than not being delivered at all," Elliott says.