This is a guest post from Tim Krebs, corporate communications manager for Protect America Home Security. Tim regularly contributes to the Protect America Home and Life Blog and covers a variety of homeowner-related topics. Protect America recently released its Trouble in Paradise eBook, which uses a true story as a cautionary tale and gives burglary-deterring advice for homeowners.
It’s that time again! The summer heat is here, and we’re ready to enjoy the outdoors. Millions of us will flock to our favorite vacation spots, whether it’s a nearby lake or somewhere a world away. Unfortunately, enterprising criminals know neighborhoods will be emptier and are ready to pounce.
Does burglary actually increase during the summer months? There are conflicting opinions. The National Crime Prevention Council says July and August are the two highest months for travel but also for burglary. Other police departments advise that while there is no specific data suggesting a dramatic increase in burglary during the summer months, our summer habits leave us more vulnerable to successful break-ins.
Think about it. Many people leave windows or screen doors open. Some homeowners still have noisy air conditioning units in their windows (a favorite target for thieves and also loud enough to cover up the sound of an intrusion). We’ll spend more time outdoors for cookouts and other activities – leaving our homes vacant for hours, days or even more.
If our experiences following burglary trends and home security news have taught us anything, it’s that staying proactive can make all the difference when looking to stay safe in your neighborhood. Whether you’re going on vacation or remaining in town for a “staycation,” it’s always a good idea to form good safety habits.
Questions to Ask Before You Go Away on Vacation
Who Have You Told?
While we certainly don’t advise that you be paranoid, it’s important to be aware of what information you’re making public. Vacationers sometimes become victims of burglary because they post their plans on social media or tell the wrong person when they will be gone. We’ve heard cases of a cab driver ferrying people to the airport, innocently asking them their plans, then arranging the burglary of his passengers’ home. Our advice? Be vague with the details of your plans until your return.
Does Your Home Look “Lived In”?
If I were to walk by your house, would it be obvious that you’re gone? Piled-up newspapers, an overgrown lawn and no lights are a dead giveaway that your home is vacant.
Is Your Garage Vulnerable?
Believe it or not, the garage door can be a favorite entry point for crooks. Some try to force it open, and others even attempt to use a universal remote. Consider unplugging your garage door opener while you’re gone and locking the interior house door in case someone is able to gain entry.
Things to Think About Before Your Staycation
Are You Always Protected?
Most residential burglaries take place during the day. If you’re heading to the park or even to the dry cleaner’s down the street, lock up and arm your security system. The average burglary takes less than 10 minutes! Connect your security system to your smartphone for even greater awareness.
Do You Know About “Doorknockers”?
“Doorknocking” is a common practice used by burglars to check and see if someone is home. They typically knock on the front door and wait for someone to answer. If no one comes to the door, they will go to a side window, back door or even force their way through the front door. Never answer a door for strangers if you can help it, and notify the authorities if someone is going door to door in your neighborhood without an obvious purpose.
Do Your Neighbors Know You?
You’d be surprised how many people don’t know their immediate neighbors. Think of them as your extra pairs of eyes. If they know you and your family, they’re more likely to spot suspicious activity around your home.
To learn more, check out this eBook, brought to you by Protect America.
How are you keeping your home safe this summer? Share your ideas in the comments below!