While you may be enjoying summer’s long days and warm temps, burglars are using this time to commit crime. According to the FBI, crime rates increase approximately 10% in June, July, and August. Suspicious activity can include door-to-door solicitation, strange vehicles in area, people asking for work, anyone with stories that don’t add-up, and anyone carrying items from someone’s home, or carrying back-packs, bags in the area.
Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries do not occur at night. Instead, 65% of burglaries occur between 6am and 6pm. Most burglars do not want to risk encountering someone so they will try your home when you’re most likely at work. The most common hours for a burglary occur between 10am-3pm.
Here are some simple tips and precautions you can take to prevent your home becoming part of the statistics.
THE BURGLARY BASICS. Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
- Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed.
- Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors. Deadbolts are good for outside doors.
- Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked, even when home. If your garage is an attached garage – lock the door into the house.
- Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away.
- Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
- Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
- Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary. Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security. Even a wooden dowel or a track blocker will help prevent the door from opening.
DON’T TEMPT A THIEF. Lawn mowers, snow blowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight. Always lock your sheds and garages. Use curtains on garage and basement windows. Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.
KEYS & LOCKS. Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. When moving into a new home, have all locks rekeyed. Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places. Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
SECURING THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME. Adequate exterior lighting for front, side, driveway and backyards. Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders. Use alarm decals, beware of dog decals, and/or community watch decals near doors.
WINDOWS. Most windows can be pinned for security. Drill a 3/16″ hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame – place a nail in the hole to secure the window. Cover windows with blinds or curtains and always lock the windows, even the small bathroom window that you think nobody could possibly fit through.
ALARMS AND DOGS. An alarm and/or surveillance system is excellent for home security. Today’s systems include 24hr visual monitoring camera with alerts the second steps over a threshold and opens a door or window. Owning a dog is an excellent deterrent against crime. Burglars are put off by loud, barking dogs. Especially big large breed dogs.
INSIDE YOUR HOME. Find good hiding places in your home for high-ticket items, especially jewelry and credit cards. Secure guns in safes that are bolted to the floor or large enough that someone could not move without a lot of help. Limit the amount of cash kept in the home, and store it in a creative hiding place. You don’t have to answer your door, you can talk through the door and you can install a peep hole.
KNOW WHAT YOU OWN. Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory. Mark your valuables with your driver’s license number with an engraver you can borrow from Police Department.
GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. Be a good neighbor. Agree to watch out for each other’s home. While on vacation – pick up newspapers, and flyers. Offer to occasionally park your car in their driveway. Return the favor and communicate often.
Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. Police can work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary. Neighbors can help organize and collect emails to keep neighbors informed and communicating.
The most important thing you can do is CALL THE POLICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity. If you see something, say something. Dial 911.
Be safe and have a great summer!