1. Leaving a ladder in the yard. Burglars can easily get around a lot of home security systems by getting into a second-story window that isn't wired in. So don't leave a ladder sitting outside in your yard, where anyone can get to it.
2. Leaving new appliance and electronics packaging out on the curb. When you get a new TV and leave the box outside next to your garbage, EVERYONE knows you just got a new TV.
The week after Christmas, burglars basically get to pick what they want to steal. The houses with boxes on the curb and no cars outside are just ASKING to be cleaned out.
3. Having flimsy wood-panel doors on back or side entrances. Burglars often get in by just kicking a hole in a back or side door. So every door should be steel-wrapped and deadbolted . . . or at least it should be solid wood that can't be kicked in.
4. Hanging a mirror in your entryway. Think about it: A mirror FACING your front door allows people to look in through a window, and see whether your alarm is set. If you need to have a mirror by the door, hang it where it can't be seen from outside.
5. Leaving the grass uncut. Never go on a long vacation without getting someone you trust to maintain your yard, and pick up mail and newspapers.
Also, don't leave the garage door opener in your second car, if it's going to stay in the driveway or on the street. If your garage is attached, a burglar can break your car window and use the opener to walk right into your house.
6. Using a fire safe. Don't put your valuables into a lockbox or fire safe and leave it sitting in the closet. That's like putting everything the burglars want into a convenient carry case for them. Use a wall safe, or get a safe deposit box at the bank.
7. Updating your Facebook status. Think about all the "friends of friends" nearby who'll know exactly where you are when you post something online. And don't upload your vacation photos until you get BACK FROM VACATION.
If you're using Foursquare or any other GPS-based apps that let you "check in" at a certain location, keep track of your security settings and only allow trusted friends to see your posts.
8. Selling things on Craigslist. When you're selling something locally, the worst thing you can do is invite complete strangers INTO YOUR HOUSE to look at it. If they like it, they can just pick it up and run with it . . . or worse, steal it at gunpoint.
If you don't know the buyers, arrange to meet them in a public place.
KENTUCKY DERBY MINT JULEP CARRIES $1,000 PRICE TAG _ Kentucky whiskey maker Woodford Reserve is selling a $1,000 mint julep to celebrate this year's Kentucky Derby. The mint julep, considered the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, comes in a box "made from the same American oak as Woodford Reserve" and "lined with a custom silk fabric." The cocktail comes with a keepsake cup made from pewter and a base "bordered with a gold-filled garland of roses." The package also includes a gold-plated straw. The drink itself features mint leaves that have been "dusted with gold" and an ice "made of gold-filtered mineral water." The drink is only available at the Kentucky Derby and must be ordered in advance online.