Burglars are scouting properties to look for alarm systems before breaking in, Napier crime prevention officer Paul Miller said.
"If they believe a property is alarmed they tend not to commit a burglary there."
Burglary victims are likely to be targeted multiple times unless they take simple measures to stop opportunistic thieves.
Nearly 60,000 burglaries were reported to police nationwide last year, with millions of dollars in property and valuable personal effects stolen and never recovered.
As most burglaries took place during the day when people were at work, properties needed to be locked up securely, Mr Miller said.
"And that includes not leaving windows open just to let fresh air in.
"Burglars will tend to knock on a door to establish whether anybody's home first and if they don't get a response they'll have a sniff around the exterior.
"The fact that windows are shut and doors are locked often has a deterrent aspect - there are burglars who won't force entry because it's noisy and it takes time."
People who knock on your door come with a false pretext such as "have you seen my black dog?" or will say they are looking for someone who they thought lived at the address.
"What we do encourage people to do, if they do get a door knock like that and they're at all suspicious, is to ring the police immediately."
Burglars don't like dogs, Mr Miller said - particularly noisy dogs - for the same reason they don't like alarms or nosy neighbours.
"They don't want to do anything where there are spectators involved - they just want to work on their own and quietly."
Police statistics show that a home is 18 per cent more likely to be targeted again after being burgled once - and the likelihood of repeat burglaries increases with each crime. If someone was burgled twice, the chances of that person being a victim again rose to 33 per cent.
If a home was broken into four times, that figure hit 50 per cent or more.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch, the Counties Manukau district manager of criminal investigations, said: "If [burglars] get into a premises and they know it's an easy target and if there isn't [security], potentially it's a bit of a sure win in terms of going back there."
Police are urging homeowners to sign up to the Serial Number Action Partnership (Snap).
The website www.snap.org.nz allows anyone to enter and maintain details of all important possessions or assets. If anything is stolen, you can retrieve your asset list details and forward them to police and your insurance company.
- 2011 - 1183 in Napier - 222 resolved
- 2010 - 1180 in Napier - 243 resolved
- 2011 - 1512 in Hastings - 204 resolved
- 2010 - 1501 in Hastings - 194 resolved
- 2011 - 59,518 nationally - 9232 resolved
- 2010 - 59,323 nationally - 8649 resolved
- Source: Statistics NZ