What's the best way to keep your home safe from crime?
NBC4 I-Team consumer investigator Randy Mac suggests conducting a "home security makeover."
In 2014, there were more than 14,000 residential burglaries reported to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Hollywood Hills residents Tina and Robert Gentino were among the victims.
"In August, we had a family trip to Japan, and when we got back, there'd been a break-in," Tina Gentino said.
Thieves had ransacked their home while the Gentinos were away, escaping with Tina's beloved jewelry collection. The value of the take -- $150,000.
Home security expert Jeff Zisner pointed out what made the Gentino residence vulnerable to crime. He started at the point of the break-in — an exterior gate leading to the front walkway, which bears a "Beware of Dog" sign.
"The problem with this sign is that on the other side of the sign is the dog," Zisner said, pointing to the family's nonthreatening pet.
Zisner also said that while beautiful, the heavy landscaping and full trees out front could hide burglars trying to break into the home.
"You want to have clear visibility between the front of your home and your neighbors," Zisner said.
Zisner had more suggestions for the Gentinos that could be used by every NBC4 News viewer:
- Use bright exterior lighting with motion sensors that could illuminate would-be thieves.
- Install an alarm system, which can be purchased for less than $200.
- Consider placing surveillance cameras both inside and outside your home. Zisner said "Drop Cams" cost just $200, and can be set to send an alarm to your smartphone when motion is detected.
- Plant a prickly cactus or thorny rose bush outside each window to discourage intruders.
Tina Gentino is considering following all Zisner's advice.
"I hope this never happens again."