1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working inyour yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the backwindow to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste . . . and tastemeans there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leaveout always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And, I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how longit takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create carand foot tracks into the house. Virgin snow drifts in the driveway are adead give away.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let youralarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink and thewindows on the second floor which often access the masterbedroom -- and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motiondetectors up there, too.

8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forgetto lock your door -- understandable. But, understand this: I don't takea day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I alwayscheck dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safewhere you keep your valuables. But, if it's not bolted down, I'lltake it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarmsystem. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out oftown, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulatesthe flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at )

14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guyand carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

16. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. Ifyour neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing andwait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just goback to what he was doing. It's human nature.

17. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for afancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you'rehome, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll driveor walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close theblinds, just to pick my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easierthan you think to look up your address.

20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is away to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.

21. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina , Oregon , California ,and Kentucky ; security consultant Chris McGoey, whoruns and Richard T. Wright,a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, whointerviewed 105 burglars for his book "Burglars on the Job."