The official start to summer is just weeks away. That means it’s time for pool parties and backyard barbeques, but it’s also the season that’s hot for burglaries. In fact, more burglaries occur during the months of July and August than any other month.
Fortunately there are several easy things you can do to make your home less of a target. Below, we’ve listed 9 of them. Follow our summer safety tips, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a crime free season.
1. Keep the garage secure.
In addition to storing a variety of goods burglars want, such as lawn equipment, bikes and other easily pawned items, your garages offer easy access to the rest of your home. Keep the garage door locked, and be sure to secure the door that leads from your garage into your home.
During summer you might be tempted to leave the windows of your car rolled down; but that’s a mistake. Burglars won’t hesitate to use the automatic opener sitting on the dashboard to access your garage. If you use an automatic garage door opener, make sure it’s not visible to a criminal peeking in car and be sure to keep the windows rolled up and doors locked.
2. Protect your valuables with a home security system.
Secure your home with an alarm system and there’s a good chance the burglar will choose an easier target. A home security system not only strengths your home’s defense against the bad guys, it can also alert your family to dangers like fire and carbon monoxide. At a minimum your home security system should include monition sensors, and detectors on all doors and window. Exterior cameras will add an extra layer of protection against burglars.
3. Remove window air units.
An air conditioning unit will save you from summer’s stifling temperatures, but it will also make your home vulnerable. Use a dowel to secure the window while the unit is in place, and be sure to remove the unit when you go on vacation.
4. Ask a neighbor to watch your home.
If you’re going to travel this summer, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Burglars look for telltale signs that your home is vacant, including flyers and mail left near the front door, overflowing mailboxes and garbage cans left at the curb.
5. Don’t invite crime.
Summertime means kids are riding bikes and scooters, and they have a habit of leaving them lying on the lawn. But when they do, they’re extending an invitation to criminals. A thief will not only take the goodies they find outside, they’ll wonder what treats you have hiding in your home. Even if your child is just running in the house for a snack, caution him to put valuables in a secure place.
6. Don’t hide keys outside.
Homeowners often hide the key to their home under the front door mat, or in another obvious location that burglars are sure to look. Don’t hide your house key outside. Instead, give it to a neighbor or friend in case of an emergency.
7. Keep quiet about your plans.
If you’re looking forward to the vacation of a lifetime, you’ll want to share your excitement with everyone, but that’s a bad move. The guy installing your new dishwasher or the gal cleaning your home could moonlight as a burglar. And you never know who reads those brag posts you put on social media, so just don’t do it. Show off the photos when you’re back home instead.
8. Watch out for scams.
If a stranger approaches your front door, beware. Summer is the time that professional thieves travel the county offering to repave your driveway or re-shingle the roof of your home. While one person is distracting you with a sales pitch, another person is entering your home through the back door.
9. Snip the shrubbery.
The bushes around your home will flourish during summer, giving burglars the go-ahead to break into your home. Trim the overgrown bushes near your home so windows and doors are visible from the street.
We encourage you to follow our summer safety tips and always trust your gut. If you see someone acting suspiciously or their behavior concerns you, there’s probably a good reason why. Don’t hesitate to call the police.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more