It can take burglars less than a minute to break into your home.

But if you take some specific steps, many burglars may stay away altogether.

Investigators at our sister station KGW in Portland, Oregon wrote letters to 86 convicted burglars.

The criminals answered a detailed questionnaire about why they chose their victims, how they broke in and the best times to strike.

First, they look for a home with little visibility that has high shrubs or tall fences.

They target homes in the early afternoon between about 12:30 and 3:00 p.m.

Once they pick a house, they knock on the front door. If someone answers, they give a quick excuse and leave.

If no one answers, they typically get inside through an unlocked door or window.

Leaving the lights on didn’t do much to keep these guys away, but they say their greatest deterrents were a vehicle in the driveway and the sounds of the television, radio or a barking dog.

Click here to see KGW’s original story and a bonus interview with a reformed career criminal.