One in 36 homes will be broken into this year. Are you a target?

My house was broken into nine years ago. It's not a pleasant experience. I had my doors locked, but apparently one of my windows was open a crack and he took advantage by flipping over my neighbor's recycling bin and slicing open the screen. Even with all that evidence, he still maintained his innocence and claimed I invited him over. The lights were off and the doors were locked. That's pretty much the universal sign for "go away" right? Wrong. To some, I guess it means, "Come on in and have a cup of tea." So, what else are we unknowingly doing wrong to make our homes attractive to burglars?

When you do projects outside, make sure you put every thing away, especially the ladder. Many burglars, like the jerk that broke into my house, get around the home security systems by going in through the window because many home security systems don't wire in the second story window, so put the ladder away and don't leave the garage door open.

Recycling is a great thing, but when you get a new TV or some other hot electronic item, don't put the box out at your curb. Leave it at the neighbor's house. Just kidding. Don't leave your recycling bins and garbage can outside the night before pick up. Burglars can just dig through your trash and recycling and get sensitive information, and see if you've purchased any new electronic toys lately. If you have a fireplace, use the box as kindling. Or, tear the packaging apart and throw it in the recycling piece by piece.

What kind of doors do you have? Are they steel reinforced, deadbolt locked doors or are they flimsy wood paneling that can be easily kicked in? If they're the latter, it's a good idea to replace them with steel reinforced, deadbolt locked doors.

When you go on vacation, do you put it out on social media? Don't do that. Instead of saying you're headed to Mexico for spring break, you may as well put, "please rob my house as I won't be there to stop you." If you don't put it out on social media, but you're uploading photos from where you are, make sure you don't put them up until you get back from vacation. Speaking of vacation, when you're going to be gone, make sure you have a trusted neighbor cut your grass, stop the mail and put your lights on a timer.

Do you like to sell things on Craig's List? It's a great website, isn't it? Well, as wonderful as it is, when you're meeting a buyer, do it in a public place. Don't invite them to your home to look at whatever item you're selling. This person could be the Boston Strangler and you're just inviting them into your home to see not just the item you're unloading, but you're also showing them everything else you have in your home and they may be casing your house and neighborhood to see what else they can steal.