Home burglaries are far more common than you might think. Experts estimate four burglaries occur every single minute in the United States. Of course, some properties are more likely to be targeted than others. Despite their seeming brazenness—they often commit their crimes in broad daylight— most burglars are in it to win it. Successful burglars don’t take risks unnecessarily. Before breaking into a home, you can bet they will have made some cost/benefit calculations. Lightweight, high-value items are the prize. We’ve all heard hair-raising tales about burglars backing a truck up and emptying a property of all its possessions under everyone’s noses. But most professional criminals are far more interested in pocketing portable high-value items, such as jewelry, cash, or high-tech electronics. These are usually found in the master bedroom, and that’s where professionals usually head first. The potential costs of breaking and entering are also carefully evaluated before a given property is selected. Savvy burglars are far more likely to target certain properties—and avoid others. So what are some of the visual deterrents to burglary? Windows and Doors Sturdy locks on doors and windows are surprisingly obvious—but effective—deterrents to illegal entry. Invest in high-quality locks. And use them at all times. Even when you’re home, take the extra step to lock yourself in. Especially at night. Alarm System A home alarm system is a potential deterrent to crime. Some burglars are so skilled at getting in and out quickly, though, that they may ignore alarms, betting that any law enforcement response will be too sluggish to matter. So, while it’s better than having no deterrent at all, an alarm should not be relied upon for complete security. Security Cameras Working security cameras are an excellent addition to any home security system. They serve as visible deterrents, because cameras mounted under the eaves, and pointed at doors and windows proclaim: “We see you. We’re recording your activity. There are easier targets elsewhere. Move along.” Make sure cameras are installed not only in the front, but in the back, as that’s where professional burglars are most likely to seek entry. Added bonus: invest in cameras with night vision for round-the-clock protection. Others Other potential visible deterrents include low, dense (ideally thorn-covered) shrubs in front of windows, motion-activated lights, and strong, solid doors not easily broken down.