Ah, the joys of summer: picnics, barbecues, swimming, gardening and burglaries. Yes, burglaries.
Statistics show that home break-ins increase during the summer months.
You’re out and about more when the temperatures are warm, so it shouldn’t be surprising that burglars are, too. Why work in the cold when they can work in comfort?
In addition, the greenery that adds so much to the summer landscape also helps provide cover for the thief. Bushy shrubs and blooming trees that obscure windows help hide shady dealings that make be taking place.
Away For the Holidays? A Burglar’s Preference
Burglars also like to do their “work” unimpeded, and summer is the season when many people take holidays. Breaking into an empty home means much less risk for the thief.
In fact, you needn’t even be on vacation for a burglar to drop by; break-ins may happen when you are happily gardening in your backyard or visiting a neighbor down the street. An empty home is a tempting home.
When Are Homes Most Likely to Be Broken Into?
In fact, most home break-ins take place between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and can be accomplished in as little as 10 minutes. What kinds of properties do burglars prefer?
The New York Times notes that burglars interviewed in prison definitely prefer an unoccupied home. They also want to get in and out quickly; according to www.safewise.com, burglars can break in and as noted, get their “work” done within 10 minutes. They are fond of homes with escape routes, so cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets aren’t as likely to be targeted as through streets.
Many homeowners don’t take precautions against break-ins, because they don’t think they own much of value. They forget that a burglar can’t necessarily see into the home to determine whether or not it is worth robbing. It’s important to behave as if your home is a potential target and act accordingly.
Protect Your Home With These Summer Theft Prevention Tips:
- Lock it. Make sure that your windows and doors are securely locked when you leave for a summer vacation. Even when you are out in the backyard weeding, get in the habit of keeping your front door and your garage door locked. Use deadbolts and put locking pins or dowels in sliding glass doors and windows to make entry difficult. Burglars like homes that are easy targets and if you make it difficult to enter yours, they will move on to another target.
- Secure it. Make sure your valuables are stored in a safety deposit box, a home safe that is bolted to the floor or with a family member.
- Check it. Touch base with your insurance agent to be certain that your homeowner’s policy is up to date and that it adequately covers theft of your valuable items.
- Engage it. Consider installing a home alarm system and be certain that it is turned on when you leave. Check with your insurance agent; if your home is protected, you might be eligible for a discounted rate.
- Don’t flaunt it. The general public doesn’t need to know you are away from home, so don’t advertise it. Stop the mail or have a neighbor collect it, as well as any flyers that are delivered. Put your newspaper delivery on hold. You definitely don’t want bank statements and other personal letters sitting in the mailbox for thieves to find; identity theft is another modern crime and one that has more challenging consequences than burglary.
- Don’t Tweet it. Don’t use social media to announce to family and friends that you will be away, and don’t post photos of your vacation until you return. Why advertise to someone who is randomly browsing the Internet that your home is ripe for plucking?
- Remove it. If you have spare keys hiding under flagstones or in flowerpots, remove them. Thieves know all about these secret locations and will be sure to check them. Why make their “jobs” easier?
- That lived-in look. If your house appears to be occupied, you’ll be less of a target for theft. Put some strategic lights and a radio on timers so that they come on at different times. If you’ll be gone for a long stretch, arrange to have someone cut your lawn. Keep a car parked in the driveway and have some blinds raised to indicate that someone is in residence. If you are away for a long stretch, you may want to have a trusted friend or neighbor stop by occasionally to open the curtains for an hour and check the house physically.
- Eyes wide open. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on the house while you’re away and to report any unusual activity to the police.
There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a summer holiday without fear of theft, but you’ll rest easier if you take all of these precautions.