If there is a downside to summer, it’s that homes are at greater risk of being burglarized than any other time of year. Enjoying the warm, fresh air, family members can become lax about leaving doors, windows and blinds open. What’s more, summer is when families like to get away. Police are wise to this seasonal trend, and are posting great advice to homeowners all across the US, as in this recent advisory from central Pennsylvania.
It’s not that warmer weather brings out more burglars. Police in mid-state Pennsylvania say most home break-ins are drug-related. “Everybody’s addicted all year long,” Carlisle Police Detective Dan Freedman said. But burglary is a crime of opportunity, and homeowners this time of year start giving crooks more of a chance to break in.
Some Warning Signs and Bad Habits
People open their windows and want to leave them open. Folks are spending more time outside and are less careful about closing windows and doors. The grass and shrubs are growing and have a head start on you. An unmown lawn can send a signal to a burglar of an inattentive homeowner or one who is not around much. Police say burglars love a house where the landscaping is overgrown.
Do Your Part to Prevent Burglaries
Police can’t be everywhere and see everything. “Those crimes will go through the roof in about two weeks,” said Susquehanna Township Police Detective Aaron Osman. Burglars can be keenly observant. You know those bothersome door hangers people put on your front door, plugging a service or product? Police say burglars look for homes where the hanger stays on, because that’s a sign no one is around. And of course, people start going away more often this time of year.
So, take a minute to read FrontPoint’s Top 10 Security Tips for Summer. You’ll be making a valuable investment in your peace of mind!
Top 10 Tips
- Think like a burglar. This means looking objectively at your home and trying to find a way in. Ladder left outside? Put it away. Shrubs to hide behind or trees to climb giving access to upstairs? Burglars who target windows for entry often look for one with overgrown shrubs near it so that they can hide from neighbors. Vents? Dog doors? Get creative – and sneaky! And remember: burglars do cut phone lines, which is why cellular monitoring is so much safer.
- Doors, Windows & Locks. We know the front or back door is the most common point of entry, but open windows in the summer are tempting for intruders. Sliding glass doors are a favorite target for lifting out – and your alarm system’s glassbreak sensor is a good backup if someone breaks through the glass, which burglars do. Remember your basement – window bars are good, and don’t forget alarm sensors for down there. You can also take advantage of energy management and automation technology – now integrated with popular home security systems – to remotely control and monitor doors and be notified in real-time if locked doors are unlocked.
- Keys and key chains. Chances are your hidden key is not so hard to find: have your friends guess – I bet you’ll need to be a bit more clever. And don’t put an address on your keys. A keychain without an address is useless to a burglar, but with your address it’s a gilt-edged invitation to your home.
- Do not open the door to strangers. You don’t have to open your door to salespeople. Remember that many burglars pose as salespeople to see if residents are at home before breaking in. Also, summer is the high season for ruse and distraction burglaries, when one burglar holds your attention while another rips you off.
- Light it up. The last thing a burglar wants is to be seen. Exterior lights are a great deterrent to intruders, who focus on the rear and sides of your home – which is why we start there when helping you lay out your alarm system. And today’s better alarm systems let you control and schedule your lights remotely, to make it look like you’re home.
- Get to know your neighbors. It really helps if we’re looking out for each other. Here is the Neighborhood Watch link from the National Crime Prevention Council – it contains a wealth of information. Report suspicious behavior – to a would-be burglar, that patrolling squad car is a very powerful message to “Move on!” If a friend or relative is taking a trip, do your part. Help them out when they ask you to watch out for their house. If you’re taking your car with you, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway.
- Lawn and Papers. Nothing is more inviting to a bad guy than the “We’re away!” message. And speaking of neighbors, they appreciate it if your house looks loved and lived-in. Cancel deliveries or task a friend to keep things ship-shape. Don’t mention on Facebook or Twitter that you are taking a trip. Use social media to talk about your vacation after you have returned home. You really need to think twice about posting your whereabouts – see my previous post on this topic.
- Alarm system itself. Here are a couple of scary stats: (1) the FBI reports that there is a burglary in the US every 15 seconds, and (2) without a monitored alarm systems you are three times more likely to experience a break-in as your neighbor with a system – and that deterrence starts with yard or fence signage and window decals. Make it clear you’re protected, and reduce the risk by encouraging the perp to find another target. You already know where I stand on interactive, wireless home security with cellular monitoring: that’s our specialty at FrontPoint Security.
- Add Home Security to Your ‘Carry On’ Baggage. Whether you’re traveling for business, vacationing with the family or just away from home, controlling your security system is incredibly simple with home security mobile apps. The best home security systems now allow you to use your iPhone, Blackberry, Android or other mobile device to monitor activity and control your system while on the go. You can even watch live or recorded video footage from multiple security cameras directly on your cell phone with video monitoring that’s integrated with your home security system.
- Save on Utilities. Home automation is not necessarily a security item, but this last tip can save you a lot of money. Energy management is all the rage these days, and controlling your thermostats remotely is now an inexpensive and easy option. That means you can change temperature settings, cooling schedules, and other aspects of your home energy management – all with the same mobile apps mentioned above. These benefits can more than pay for your monthly alarm service. This is one of the fastest growing areas in home security, although not all alarm companies offer it.
FrontPoint is the recognized leader in wireless home security for combining the most advanced home security and home automation services. Whether it’s cellular monitoring, notifications and remote arming, video features, or using apps to control lights, locks, and thermostats, FrontPoint has the solution. We provide systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat – that’s why FrontPoint is the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. You want to enjoy your summer, at home on when you travel, and FrontPoint can help. Here’s to a safe and secure summer!