According to Allstate Insurance, costs associated with the home thefts in Texas also shot up 9 percent from $11.3 million to $12.3 million in 2008. The average home theft loss per incident was more than $4,100 in 2008, up from $3,900 in 2007.
Police crime prevention experts surveyed say the most common forced entry is a kicked down door, and for non-forced entry - a garage left open by homeowners.
Consumers should case their own homes before someone else does it for you. Whether you live in a house or apartment, theft experts at recommend four tips to throw off thieves.
Adopt a "lived-in" look: 63 percent of residential burglaries take place during the day. If you're not home, make sure your house looks lived-in, day and night. Keep lights on a timer, have your mail and newspaper delivery stopped, move cars and trash cans into the garage and have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home.
Think like a thief: "Case" the outside of your house or apartment the way a burglar would and look for easy ways to enter. Install deadbolt locks and solid, long screws on all exterior doors and make sure you have sturdy windows that are always closed and locked. If you live in an apartment, make sure the sliding door has a wooden rod in the track. Put away ladders and tools that could be used to break into your home. Consider buying motion-sensitive lights and trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows so burglars can't hide in the shadows. Make some noise: Install an alarm system that can alert neighbors and notify local police if someone is trying to break-in. Also consider getting a dog. Even a small dog can create enough noise to deter potential burglars.
Protect your possessions: Store items like jewelry, weapons and small antiques in a safe. Be sure valuables like electronic devices and artwork are not visible from the street. Also, create a home inventory of your possessions, including photos and videos of the items. Should someone burglarize your house or apartment, a home inventory will make it easier to file a claim and restore your property after a loss.