“Don’t be afraid of the dark” is a reassurance that burglars never need; they need to hear, “Be afraid of the lights.”
Most people know of the automatic timing devices that flip lights on when the house is empty. These devices also can turn on TVs, fooling prowlers into thinking someone’s inside. The programming for the times should be changed up, and so should the lighting implements used.
A second tool is the motion detector which flips on a light when it detects movement. A popular kind is the one over the garage that comes on when someone comes up the driveway. And a bright light that goes on at the front door can deter a burglar from trying to get in.
All areas of possible entry should have a light cast upon them at the detection of motion. This includes the windows underneath the deck in the back, window wells to the basement and any side doors. These lights should be out of reach of criminals.
Sometimes, a sociopath awaits in the dark for the homeowner to return home (after casing the place and learning the occupants’ habits). Imagine how easy the criminal’s job will be if no light turns on when the garage door is opened. He could have you around the throat in an instant. But if a bright light goes on as the door opens, this can repel him, or at least enable the occupant to see him and then prepare for defense.
A more advanced option is a sensor that flips on a light but also sounds an alarm at the detection of movement. Some devices can be set at a higher threshold so that cats, raccoons and other critters don’t set them off.
The latest advancement is a system that “figures out” the occupants’ light-use habits. The BeOn system duplicates this when you’re not home, making it seem that you’re inside and doing your usual living. BeOn has a Kickstarter campaign that anyone serious about home security should check out.