Did you know most burglaries in the U.S. happen over the summer? Sunny weather, more day trips with friends and family, and traveling for vacation are summer staples we look forward to all year. Summer’s perks help you hit the reset button on your day-to-day life, but they also leave your home more vulnerable to break-ins.
During the summer…
- Windows are often left open for ventilation during the day and even overnight.
- Doors are left unlocked by kids and guests coming in and out more frequently than during the school year.
- Families are away from home more often due to different work hours, day trips, pool days, etc.
- Homes are left unattended overnight for long stretches while people are on vacation.
Here are 10 tips to help you breathe easier knowing your home is safe and sound while you’re out enjoying your summer.
1. Don’t post your travels on social media while you’re away.
Sharing your frustrations with the airline or your excitement over your awesome hotel room lets everyone know you aren’t home. Refraining from posting about your vacation on social media is one of the best ways to protect your home while you’re gone — it’s also a good mental health habit to unplug while you’re vacationing. Two birds, one stone.
2. Hire a house sitter.
If you have pets, hiring a house sitter keeps you from having to pay a kennel or boarding facility while you’re traveling and protects your home by ensuring that someone is around to check-in regularly. Plus, dogs make great alert systems if someone is snooping about.
3. Put your mail and newspaper on hold.
A stuffed mailbox or front porch piled high with the week’s newspapers is an invitation for burglars to start snooping. If you don’t want to stop your deliveries for the week, ask a neighbor or house sitter to collect deliveries for you while you’re away.
4. Double check doors and windows.
Summer’s warm, breezy weather means you probably spend several evenings letting fresh air into your home through screen doors and windows. Make a habit of making sure all doors and windows are closed and latched before leaving or turning in for the night.
5. Park a car in your driveway.
Heading out on a road trip? Ask a neighbor to park at your place while you’re gone to make it look like someone’s home. If you’re flying to your destination, get a ride to the airport and leave your car at home.
6. Invest in a security system with home automation features.
Automated features attached to your home’s security system allow you to adjust the thermostat, turn lights on and off, and even answer the doorbell from your phone. On top of sounding an alarm and alerting the police in the event of a breach, you can equip your home with security cameras that’ll keep you posted on any suspicious activity.
7. Keep your lawn and garden in check.
Overgrown, messy landscaping implies that the yard hasn’t seen any TLC in quite awhile, inviting burglars to scope out the situation. Hire a lawn service, house sitter, or neighbor to mow while you’re away.
8. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on things.
Sometimes nosy neighbors have their perks. Go ahead and ask them to keep you posted if they notice anything suspicious going on while you’re away from your home.
9. Leave a few lights on.
Nothing quite says “easy target” like a dark house with all the shades and curtains closed. Leave outdoor lighting on around doors and windows while you’re away. If you have automated features, change the lighting up every day to make it look like someone’s been home.
10. Store valuables out of sight.
When it comes to home security, prevention is key. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving valuables where they can be spotted from windows or doors. If you usually have your jewelry or family heirlooms on display, cover or move them out of sight while you’re away.
Never leave a spare key nearby — your friends and neighbors might appreciate this, but so do burglars. Plus, if anyone really needs access to home while you’re away, you can always call a locksmith. If you’ve lost a spare or aren’t sure who all might have a key to your house, consider rekeying your locks and starting fresh, particularly if you’ve changed house sitters or babysitters recently.