We’ve been in the security business long enough to know that thieves are attracted to certain types of homes and businesses.

They look for easy prey and can spot them immediately. It’s called casing the neighborhood, and any thief worthy of his or her “craft” will do due diligence by looking for homes or businesses that appear even the least bit susceptible to undetected break-ins.

Door left unlocked or propped open, open garage doors, places where they can hide, such as overgrown bushes or dimly lit areas, unkempt lawns— these are things that give burglars the green light to rob your home or business..We consider security systems to be the last line of defense against loss of property and the trauma of enduring a break-in. The systems work best when they’re supplemented by vigilant home and business owners who take measures to prevent theft susceptibility.

When it comes to protecting your home and your family, don’t make it easy on a thief. If someone is going to rob you, make him or her work for it. Although nothing is fail safe, there are some measures that you and your family can take to make a thief less likely to pick your house to rob when they are scoping out a neighborhood.

Protecting Your Business

Business owners, whether they have a small mom-and-pop establishment or a large-scale corporation, would benefit from a security audit to see just how secure their business really is as well as learn ways they can better safeguard their investments — namely their employees, products and profits.

When State Security conducts audits, we often find exterior doors to be a source of concern. That’s because they are either broken (a spring or hinge needs to be repaired) or these doors are being left propped open, because employees use it to go in and out for breaks. We also look for a number of other things, from how well lit a parking lot is to whether interior doors are functioning properly. We’ll then give business owners ideas of how they can increase security and let them know of areas that need to be addressed.

We look for these things because criminals look for these things.

In addition, if someone has recently bought a business with a security system already in place, State Security can test the existing system to make sure it’s working the way it should. Not all businesses would warrant having a security system. However, having one in place is just one more step in your line of defense.

If you are a business owner, think about your individual situation, and then consider how a thief would think about robbing you. For instance, when it’s closing time, a person working at a fast-food establishment would typically lock the windows and doors and dim the lights to indicate that the business has closed for the day. Employees usually exit using the back door, and they might have a bank deposit to make on their way home.

Wouldn’t you want to be able to know what sits outside that back door before you leave the building? Having a security camera would allow you to see as much as possible before leaving. Below are some additional common-sense tactics when it comes to keeping your business and employees safe.

• Lock doors and windows every night

• Lock inside doors and/or desk drawers that contain valuable or sensitive materials

• Perform background checks

• Invest in a safe

• Install a security system

Protecting Your Home

Lock your doors and windows. And don’t forget about the garage and tool shed if you have one. Who says thieves don’t steal lawn mowers and leaf blowers? Front doors not being locked and garage doors being left open are the two biggest reasons people get burglarized.

Trim bushes around windows. If a thief enters through a window, this looks more conspicuous. Overgrown trees and shrubs give them a place to conceal themselves. Don’t announce you are leaving for vacation via social media. If you do, you are sending out an open invitation that says, “Hey, nobody is home and won’t be for a while, so come in and make yourself at home. By the way, take some valuables as a parting gift!”

Have your neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper. Nothing says nobody is home better than a week’s worth of newspapers strewn all over the steps. Just be sure to ask the neighbor who isn’t known for being the forgetful one on the cul-de-sac.

You can go one step further and have your mail stopped and newspaper stopped while you are on vacation.

Maintain your landscaping. You might have a certain way of keeping your lawn perfectly manicured, and no one does as good of a job at it but you. However, it wouldn’t hurt to ask a trusted teenage kid down the street to give it a mow during the week or two that you are gone.

Make sure porches — front and back — are well lit. A dimly lit entrance, or no light at all, is asking for trouble. We are all guilty of putting off changing the light bulb until guests come to visit, and we flip the light switch on and off acting like it just burned out. It might be a pain in the butt, but how hard is it to change a light bulb, really? Thieves are opportunists. If they are driving through a neighborhood, they are going to stay away from those homes that are well lit and/or have a security sign in the yard.

Get a security system. Even if you do all of the above, there’s no guarantee that a thief won’t break into your house. But having a security system installed by a professional can alert you to someone snooping around, whether you are home or away, while also possibly scaring the thief off.

Protect your car. Much of the same common-sense tactics that you employ for your home translate to your car, whether it’s parked in your garage, driveway or anywhere around town.

• Lock your doors, and roll up your windows

• Don’t leave items of value sitting on the front seat, put them in the trunk or stash them out of sight in a storage compartment

• Don’t leave your keys in the car

• Don’t leave your car running even if you are just running into the store for a minute