How to Protect Your Home From Burglars

Ridgewood, N.J., schoolteacher Noreen Clark was sure her home was safe from an intruder invasion. The daughter of a retired police officer thought a security system she had installed when she purchased her home last December would prevent burglary.

She also changed all the locks, and if that didn't work, there was always her golden retriever Jack.

"I feel very secure here. I feel that, on a scale of one to 10, I'm close to a nine or a 10," Clark said.

She was so confident that she agreed to let "Good Morning America's" safety and security expert Bill Stanton come out and audit her home.

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All she knew was that sometime over a two-week period -- day or night -- Stanton would come out and attempt to penetrate her home's security.

The Test

One Tuesday afternoon, just after 1 p.m., Stanton went to Clark's neighborhood to case her home while she was at work.

It took him less than two minutes to grab a ladder from the rear of the house and make his move. He forced himself into a second story window without any of Clark's neighbor's noticing. No one called 911.

As for Jack, Stanton was able to subdue him with some doggie treats. Even though the home's alarm was set, Stanton found its weak point.

"The weakest link in this chain was the second floor -- your bedroom where you have your heater air-conditioning unit. You gave me about six inches, and that's all I needed to open this house a mile wide," Stanton later told Clark. "I knew that window wasn't alarmed because you gave me that six-inch leeway. I also knew if it wasn't alarmed, you didn't have the motion on because you had old Jack here on the first floor."

He was able to go through the residence and find money and presents.

His accomplice moved the ladder when he was inside and staked out Clark's car at school.

When she arrived home, a shocked Clark screamed when the accomplice surprised her in her home by walking in behind her.

"I came in and I made your home my home. If I was a burglar, I would have been out and gone. If I was something more, it could have been a lot worse," Stanton said.

"I don't even know what to say," said Clark, who is now getting her window alarmed.

Home Burglary Prevention

Use your locks. Even the best locks can't protect you if you don't use them.

Do some yard work. Trim hedges and bushes so thieves can't hide out.

Know your neighbors. Neighbors who look out for each other are among the best, and least expensive, defenses against crime.

Secure your spare. Leave your spare key with a trusted neighbor. Never hide it on the property. Burglars have more experience looking for keys than you do hiding them.

Guard your garage. If you park your car outside of your garage, never leave the garage door opener in the car.

Let there be light. Make sure all outside entrances -- front, back and side -- have good lighting so burglars can't easily hide.

Invest in an alarm. An alarm system controls access points to your home and lets you know if someone has invaded your space.

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