Summer is a peak season for vacations… and burglaries. According to FBI, the highest percentage of burglaries occur during the summer months. Plan on traveling this summer? Below are some facts everyone should know:
- 2,000,000 home burglaries are reported each year in the United States.
- About 30 percent of all burglaries are through an open or unlocked window or door.
- Nearly 66 percent of all burglaries are residential (home) break-ins.
- Renters are just as likely to be the victims of property crime as homeowners.
- Homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.
Now that we’ve potentially ruined your vacation mood, let’s talk about how you can protect your home and travel is peace.
- Keep your itinerary and location a secret until you return. It has been said before, but just based on a quick review of my Facebook timeline, it needs to be repeated again: While you are excited to share pictures about your fun vacation to exotic locations, do not share information about your getaway beforehand on social media, such as how long you will be gone and where you are going. Not only do potential thieves know that you will be out of your home for that period of time, they could take advantage of your absence and burglarize your property. If you also use geotagging for your posts to show your location or list the city where you live, burglars could use this information to target your home.
- Don’t change a thing… Before you leave for vacation, you may decide to close your curtains to prevent people from peering inside your home to see whether you’re there. However, closed curtains also stop those who aim to help -- the police, your neighbors or friends -- from seeing inside your house. So what’s your best bet? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you’re home, since noticeable changes could hint that you’re not around anymore -- especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for two weeks. Move expensive items, like jewelry or computers, out of plain sight if they’re visible from the window. The same goes for lights. If you don’t normally leave lights on when you’re not home, don’t. In addition, leaving your lights on throughout your entire vacation in an effort to make it look like someone is in the house will make your house look a bit odd and stand out… this is exactly what you want to avoid. Instead, purchase a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule. Criminals keeping an eye on your house will notice lights flipping on and off, and will probably assume someone is doing the flipping.
- Pull the plug. Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. Do this to save power as well. According to the Consumer Energy Center, many appliances use power even when they’re turned off.
- Advertise your security… loud and clear. Especially when you’re away, it can be a great idea to advertise your security measures. If you’re worried that alarm company signs will clue thieves in to how to break in, buy signs from a different company. Install fake security cameras (the kind that look authentic). Do whatever it takes to get across the message, “This is not the home you are looking for.”
- Put your valuables away. Lock up jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fire-proof safe.
- Leave a set of keys with a friend. Have a reliable friend keep an eye on your house. They can take care of a few weekly things like taking the trash out, watering the flowers and cutting the grass. You can even invite that trusted friend to stay at your place.
- Consider a wireless alarm system (especially if you don’t have a traditional alarm system). What makes a wireless alarm system kit appealing is that they are less expensive over time than traditional security systems. This is mainly because these systems are self-monitored and do not offer professional monitoring. This means that you are in charge of contacting authorities if there is a suspicious event in your home. There are several competing systems, but you should definitely check out Canary. The all-in-one home security system you control from your phone. It’s built to learn and sends intelligent alerts with HD video and audio directly to your phone. Canary automatically changes modes when you enter and leave your home. No complicated keypad codes to remember. Use the Canary app to watch live from anywhere at any time. Canary connects your home to your phone in HD video, 24/7.