18 Tips for Summer Home Security
Summer is an exciting time for burglars. They know that many home owners will be traveling for summer vacations, making it easy to target and break into homes while occupants are away. You might be getting away from it all, but burglars are still hard at work.
While it's tough to know if your home will be targeted by burglars this summer, there are many things you can do to keep your home safe during this season, even if you're not planning to travel. Follow these tips to stay on top of home security all summer and keep your home and family safe.
- Don't give out keys with your address on them: A set of keys with an address gives burglars everything they need to get into your home, including where you are and how to open the front door. Similarly, don't leave a GPS device in your car at the airport. It can tell thieves where you live and they know you're out of town. It's also smart to avoid putting your landline number or home address on checked luggage. Simply list your mobile number, email, and destination instead.
- Don't open the door for strangers: The summer is a busy season for door to door burglaries and home invasions. If you don't know the person on the other side, don't open your door. Simply tell them you're not interested through the door and ask them to leave. This tells them that someone is home. Avoid simply ignoring them, as they may knock on the door just to see if anyone is there.
- Tell the police you're going out of town: The police won't offer private security monitoring services, but they may keep an extra eye on your house if they know you're out of town. If you're headed out for a week or more, be sure to let the police know you'll be gone and could use an extra set of eyes.
- But don't tell social media: Avoid announcing your upcoming vacation and don't share travel photos while you're out. It's tempting, but this broadcasts that you're not home.
- Use outdoor lighting: Good exterior lighting at your doors and windows can illuminate burglars and encourage them to move on. Or, they'll help neighbors spot them at your door. Consider motion sensors and timer lights outdoors, especially at your front door.
- Ask neighbors for help: Ask a neighbor to check in on your home while you're traveling. They can turn lights on and off, check your mail, open or close blinds, turn on your TV and even park in your driveway so it looks like someone is home. Ask them to pull your trash and recycling out and put it back along with the rest of the neighborhood.
- Don't change anything major for a trip: If you normally keep your curtains and blinds open, don't shut them up just before you leave, as it's a clear message to burglars that you're not home. It's a good idea, however, to hide any valuables that might be spotted from a window that can be peeked in.
- Keep pets at home and use a pet sitter: Rather than leaving your home empty, keep your pets at home, especially dogs, where they'll bark and cause trouble for burglars. And if you keep your pets at home, a pet sitter can help check in on your house while you're away.
- Keep up with your lawn: Mow just before you go or hire a lawn service to take care of your grass while you're gone. Tall grass is a sure sign that no one is home to take care of it. You should also trim overgrown shrubs and tall trees. Shrubs give burglars a place to hide from neighbors, while trees can be climbed up to the second floor. You should also give your lawn a once over to see if you have any valuables outside, such as bikes in the yard.
- Get a cab to the airport: If you can, leave your vehicles in the driveway so it appears that you're still at home. Burglars may notice that a vehicle that's usually home has been gone for an extended period of time.
- Turn lights on and off: Use a light switch timer or home automation to have lights turn on and off automatically on a schedule. Burglars watching your home will notice that lights are flipped on and off and likely assume that someone is home.
- Put your mail and paper on pause: Burglars look for mail and newspapers piled up to tell them the family isn't home. Put a stop order or vacation hold on them and simply pick it all up when you get home.
- Never leave a spare key outside: If a burglar thinks you're on vacation, they'll probably look for your spare key first so they can get in without having to break anything and attract attention. They can figure out hiding spots like areas on your porch, in your mailbox, or above your door frame.
- Keep your doors and windows locked: When the weather heats up, many home owners open windows. That may be fine when you're home, but it's important that you still remember to close them when you go to bed or leave your home.
- Keep your valuables hidden: If a burglar is able to gain access to your home, they'll quickly look for easy to pocket valuables. Hide jewelry, firearms, and other valuables in inconspicuous spots. Keep in mind that burglars are likely to hit your master bedroom and living room first rather than secondary bedrooms, bathrooms, or even your garage.
- Go on privacy lockdown: Protect your personal information by locking file cabinets and putting passwords on any computers you're leaving behind.
- Invest in home security: A home security system can stop a burglar in his or her tracks, protecting your home and family. It can encourage them to find an easier target elsewhere, scare them off with an audible alarm, and call the authorities for help right away.
- Invest in home automation features: Even if you don't have a home security system, home automation can keep your house safer. You can control lights, TVs, radios, and more to make it look like you're home. You may even be able to control your thermostat, view live videos, get alerts, and answer your doorbell with a video chat.