FF12: Take steps to protect your home from burglars

Earlier this month, we went inside criminal minds with our "home security survey"

If there is one thing we've learned, it's that many burglars do some sort of planning before they break in to a home.

That means homeowners can plan, too. Joe Schillaci, our Personal Protection Expert helps us explain what you can do to your home so you're prepared to protect it.

We use a volunteer's home to illustrate what burglars look for when they break into a home and what you can do to keep them from taking what they want.

Schillaci walks straight to our volunteer Julie's master bedroom. Exactly what most of our convicted burglars say they did after they broke into a home.

"The first place I would be looking would be the dresser, the nightstand where some spouses will take their rings off, [and] their jewelry off at night before they go to sleep," Joe said.

Schillaci says thieves know your hiding spots-so don't even bother hiding stuff in the refrigerator or the tank of a toilet.

"I would personally say, and they're not expensive, is to get a safe you can bolt to the ground or you can bolt to a wall," Joe said.

He tells Julie to invest in some decoy items too.

"Clocks that open up, wall clocks, you can put your jewelry in there. They wouldn't know to look inside there, because it's a clock," Joe said.

Or better yet, a safe deposit box.

"If it's really valuable and you're not wearing it every day, a safe deposit box is the best bet," Joe said.

"I have one. It's like 40-dollars a year. Yeah, it's very cheap," Julie said.

Burglars answering our survey tell us they're searching for cash, electronics, cell phones, and jewelry. Schillaci says it's mostly the smaller stuff-- the quick grabs -- especially those iPhones and iPads your kids love. But don't stress about hiding everything. Schillaci says that's no way to live.

"What you've done is imprison the family in your mind," Joe said.

Protecting what's inside your home, usually starts with securing the outside. Most burglars told us they look for the easy way in-- an open window or an unlocked door. They might even check an unlocked vehicle for a garage door opener. Joe suggests locking the windows and installing alarms on the doors and windows. These are some simple security solutions that are also inexpensive.

Joe recommends Julie secure her sliding glass door more.

"You could get a good solid piece of wood to slide in the track to keep it from opening. I prefer, because it's so inexpensive, go to Home Depot and get a security bar that would slide into the bottom there," Joe said.

The best piece of security you can't buy-good neighbors. Many burglars who responded to our survey say nosy neighbors or a neighborhood watch would stop them from breaking into a home.

"We don't get a lot of traffic down this street that doesn't belong. So, we're all very aware of cars that we haven't seen before," Julie said.

Schillaci says securing your items inside your home doesn't have to be expensive. If you don't want to invest in a home security system, again Schillaci says consider window alarms. Also, think about buying some decoy items to hid valuables. And, use longer screws in your doors... to make them harder to kick-in.