Summer vacation is finally here. Kids are excited because they get to spend time at home and with their friends, and parents across the country are firing up their grills to enjoy time spent with family. While the rest of us are getting ready to enjoy the sun and time with our families, burglars are gearing up to enjoy their peak season as well.
During the summer months, Crime increases, with burglary seeing one of the highest increases, and while total burglaries have actually decreased year on year recently, the summer increase holds true. Some experts believe it is the increase in juvenile crime that causes the spike, while others believe different factors come into play.
Regardless of who is doing the invading, home invasion and burglary increases mean you need to take extra precautions during the Summer months to protect your home.
Lock Your Doors and Windows
Simple enough right? Many home intruders simply enter through an unlocked door or window. This becomes even more hazardous during summer months with school-age children entering and exiting the house at a high rate and windows being left open for airflow.
Ensure that all doors and windows are locked, even when you’re home. While nearly 75% of break ins occur while residents are away, the burglaries that occur while the residents are home can be particularly frightening. Many intruders carry weapons, and 25% of residents who interrupt the burglary become victims of violent crimes.
Certain doors are especially tempting to burglars. Sliding doors can be secured with a dowel rod for increased protection, and screen doors should have glass sections in the locked position as often as possible. Solid doors should be kept close as often as possible, and should always be used when the house is unoccupied.
By locking doors and windows, you can avoid becoming the victim of a burglar who is out simply searching for an easy target.
Secure Air Conditioning Units
Air conditioning units can be tempting entry points for burglars. Ensure that yours are secured and that entry through a window, if a unit is kicked in is difficult.
Have Someone Collect Your Mail While On Vacation
Piled up mail is an easy sign to a burglar that a family has gone on vacation. Make sure you have a neighbor or friend pick up your mail for you while you’re gone.
Install a Security System
Only 17% of American homes have a security system and homes without a system are up to 300% more likely to be burglarized. Some of that percentage may be due to the simple fact that less people have systems, making the target pool larger for non-secured homes, but regardless of the reasoning behind the numbers, homes without systems seem to be targeted at a higher rate than those with systems, making the investment seemingly worthwhile.
Installing a security system, or ensuring the one you already have installed is armed, can be a sound way to defend from burglary. When you consider that most burglaries occur between 10AM and 3PM, when most people are away at work, it becomes even more important to ensure your home is being guarded by a trusted system.
Don’t Make Vacation Plans Overly Known
It can be tempting to paste to all sorts of “headed on vacation!” pictures and posts all over social media, but experts advise against it. 65% of burglars know their victims, and spreading the news that you won’t be home for a week or two can provide a tempting target for those that may otherwise leave your residence alone.
Have Someone Check On Your House When You’re Gone
Similar to ensuring your mail is removed, having someone simply come to your house and do a bit of house-sitting once in a while if you go on vacation can effectively deter many potential intruders. Seeing a car in the driveway can scare-off burglars that are casing neighborhoods looking for easy targets.
Keep Hedges and Trees Clear From The House
Burglars look for safety and security, which means if they see hedges or trees that obscure views of your home from the street, they are more likely to target your property. By keeping hedges and trees trimmed back, you can deny them the safety of decreased visibility, and hopefully deter them from entering your home, especially during the summer months when foliage begins to grow more rapidly.
Form a Neighborhood Watch
You may not be able to watch your house all the time, but others in your neighborhood can assist you. By forming a well organized watch that performs routine patrols throughout the neighborhood day and night can deter burglars. Remember, over 85% of burglaries are performed by non-professionals who are simply looking for an easy target. Grandma Ethel down the street may not be very intimidating, but she can call the police due to suspicious activity just like anyone else. Her and a few friends walking through a neighborhood may be enough to deter opportunistic would-be intruders.